Twenty-two patients with Clostridium difficile colitis as determined by positive enzyme immunoassay for toxin A were evaluated for fecal inflammatory markers and their relationship to the severity of illness. Fourteen of 22 specimens were positive for fecal lactoferrin (FLF), with titers from 1:50 to 1:800. Nine of 10 stools tested had ratios of interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) to IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) of >0.01. Seventeen of 22 specimens also had elevated IL-8 concentrations, and 12 of 14 had elevated IL-1beta concentrations. A review of the 18 available patient records revealed that fecal IL-8 concentrations, IL-1beta/IL-1ra ratios, and FLF titers were significantly higher in patients with moderate to severe disease than in patients with mild disease. These findings suggest that the proinflammatory effects of C. difficile may directly influence clinical characteristics of human disease.