STL - Clinical: Enteric Pathogens Culture, Stool

Test Catalog

Test Name

Test ID: STL    
Enteric Pathogens Culture, Stool

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)

Testing Algorithm Delineates situations when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

When this test is ordered, the reflex tests may be performed and charged separately. Reportable pathogens include: Aeromonas, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, and Yersinia.

Note: Does not include culture for Escherichia coli O157:H7. All bacterial isolates worked up, to rule in or out as a pathogen, will be billed for work performed and resources consumed.


See Laboratory Testing for Infectious Causes of Diarrhea in Special Instructions.

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.

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

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.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. York MK, Rodrigues-Wong P, Church L: Fecal Culture for Aerobic Pathogens of Gastroenteritis. In 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. In Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook, Third edition. Washington, DC, ASM Press, 2010, Section 3.8.2

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

Special Instructions and Forms Library of PDFs including pertinent information and consent forms, specimen collection and preparation information, test algorithms, and other information pertinent to test