Test Catalog

Interpretive Handbook

Test 8098 :
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, 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.

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

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)

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

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 CDFRP / Clostridium difficile Toxin, Molecular Detection, PCR, Feces).


Escherichia coli O157:H7 is not detected by this test (Order STFRP / 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

1. York MK, Rodrigues-Wong P, Church L: Fecal Culture for Aerobic Pathogens of Gastroenteritis, Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook, Third edition. Washington, DC, ASM Press, 2010, Section 3.8.1

2. Jerris RC, Fields PI, Nicholson MA: Fecal Culture for Campylobacter and Related Organisms, Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook, Third edition. Washington, DC, ASM Press, 2010, Section 3.8.2

3. DuPont H.L: Persistent Diarrhea: A Clinical Review. JAMA, June 28, 2016;315(24):2712-2723. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.7833

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