The differential diagnosis of gas-forming infections is difficult, time-consuming, and subject to error. The presence of bacteria belonging to the genus Clostridium is often confusing because there are no bacteriologic criteria which define the clinical concept of "gas gangrene." Recent clinical experiences at the Albany Medical Center will be presented to emphasize the hazards of classical microbiologic methods.
Nine anticlostridial globulins, prepared in rabbits, have been conjugated with fluorescein isothiocyanate. The use of these conjugates permits the rapid, specific identification of the homologous antigen. Any specimen, either fluid or solid, can be studied without the need for subculture, separation, or other bacteriologic manipulation. Rapid quantitative study of mixed infections is thus possible.
To date, the conjugates are type specific and show no cross reaction to other bacteria.
Refinement or alteration of the antigen or the use of pooled conjugates should make rapid, accurate identification of Cl perfringens infections possible by