What is the role of toxigenicity testing in the workup of diphtheria?

Updated: Jan 18, 2019
  • Author: Bruce M Lo, MD, MBA, CPE, RDMS, FACEP, FAAEM, FACHE; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Toxigenicity testing is aimed to determine the presence of toxin production.

Elek test detects the development of an immunoprecipitin band on a filter paper impregnated with antitoxin and then is laid over an agar culture of the organism being tested. [11]

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for detection of DNA sequence encoding the A subunit of tox+ strain are both rapid and sensitive.

Once diphtheria infection has been established, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should be contacted, and further testing may be requested.

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