Enteric Pathogens Culture, Stool
Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test
Diarrhea may be caused by a number of agents (eg, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and chemicals) and these agents may result in similar symptoms. A thorough patient history covering symptoms, severity and duration of illness, age, travel history, food consumption, history of recent antibiotic use, and illnesses in the family or other contacts will help the physician categorize the disease and ensure that any special requests are communicated to the laboratory.
Determining whether a bacterial enteric pathogen is the cause of diarrhea
May be helpful in identifying the source of the infectious agent (eg, dairy products, poultry, water, or meat)
The growth of an enteric pathogen identifies the cause of diarrhea.
Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances
Stool cultures for enteric pathogens are generally not useful from patients hospitalized for more than 3 days because the yield from specimens from these patients is very low, as is the likelihood of identifying a pathogen that has not been detected previously.
Clostridium difficile, a major cause of nosocomial diarrhea, is not detected by this test (order CDRP/83124 Clostridium difficile Toxin, Molecular Detection, PCR).
Escherichia coli 0157:H7 is not detected by this test (Order STXRP/89565, Shiga toxin, Molecular Detection, PCR, Feces).
Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.
No growth of pathogens
Clinical References Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature
York MK, Rodrigues-Wong P: Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook. Second edition, ASM Press, Washington, DC, 2007, Section 3.8