Laboratory Testing for C. perfringens

Key points

  • CDC conducts limited testing for C. perfringens.
  • A stool test detecting C. perfringens bacteria or enterotoxin is required to confirm an infection.
  • Public health laboratories typically only test for C. perfringens if an outbreak has happened.
A laboratorian working in a laboratory. They are using a pipette and test tube, transferring liquid from one to the other.

Laboratory guidelines

CDC offers limited laboratory testing for C. perfringens food poisoning.

  • CDC only tests specimens linked to foodborne outbreaks.
  • CDC accepts specimens from state public health laboratories and other federal agencies.

Private healthcare providers and institutions may submit specimens directly to the CDC with authorization from their state public health department.

Interpreting results

Demonstration of C. perfringens enterotoxin in the stool or a count of ≥106 C. perfringens organisms per gram of stool within 48 hours of onset of typical illness is required to confirm infection.