What Does A Stool Culture Test For


Stool Culture

A stool culture is a test performed on a stool sample in order to identify microorganisms (such as bacteria or fungi) that may be responsible for an illness. A sample of feces is introduced to a chemical that encourages the development of germs in the laboratory. If no germs appear to be growing, the culture is considered negative. If bacteria that can cause illness thrive in the culture, the culture is considered positive. It is possible to determine the kind of germ by using a microscope or chemical testing.

Sensitivity testing is the term used to describe this process.

Alternatively, you may require many stool samples over a period of several days.

Why It Is Done

A stool culture is performed in order to:

  • Among the reasons for doing a stool culture are:

How To Prepare

If you have recently taken antibiotics, visited outside of the nation, or consumed untreated water, tell your doctor about it. Also inform the doctor if you have recently undergone a test with contrast material, such as a barium swallow or a barium enema.

How It Is Done

Stool samples can be taken at the convenience of the patient. Alternatively, you may be required to visit your doctor’s office, a medical clinic, or a medical facility. If you choose to collect the samples at your convenience, you may be provided with a specific container. It is possible that you will need to collect more than one sample. Each sample should be treated in the same way. The following steps must be taken in order to collect the sample:

  • You should urinate before collecting the feces. You won’t receive any pee in your stool sample if you do it this way. Put on gloves before touching your feces so that you do not urinate when you are passing the stool. Stool may include bacteria that are capable of spreading illness. After removing your gloves, wash your hands thoroughly. Stool (but not urine) should be emptied into a dry container. It is possible that you will be provided a plastic basin to place beneath the toilet seat in order to capture the stool.
  • It is possible to collect either solid or liquid excrement
  • Using a big plastic bag attached to the toilet seat may make the collecting procedure easier if you’re suffering from diarrhea. After that, the bag is placed in a plastic container. Avoid taking the sample from the toilet bowl
  • Instead, use a cup. Do not combine the sample with any other substances such as toilet paper, water, or soap.
  • It is possible to collect solid or liquid excrement
  • Using a big plastic bag glued to the toilet seat might make the collection procedure much easier if you have diarrhea. Following that, the bag is placed in a plastic container
  • And Take the sample from the toilet bowl rather than the sink. Make sure you don’t mix the sample with anything else like toilet paper or water.

Take the sample as quickly as possible to your doctor’s office or to the laboratory. You may be required to submit your sample to the lab within a specific time frame, generally within 30 minutes or fewer after when it was collected. Inform your doctor if you believe you will have difficulty delivering the sample to the laboratory on time. Diapers of newborns and young children may be used to collect samples from them (if the stool does not have urine mixed with it). Alternatively, a small tube may be inserted into the infant’s rectum while the baby is held on your lap.

It is necessary to enter the swab into the rectum and then gently spin it before pulling it out.

How It Feels

There is no discomfort associated with taking a stool sample. You may experience discomfort when trying to pass feces if you are constipated. In the event that your doctor obtains a stool sample with a cotton swab, you may experience some pressure or pain while the swab is being inserted into your colon.


Any stool sample may include germs that have the potential to cause disease transmission. Take precautions such as washing your hands thoroughly and using proper handling procedures to avoid spreading illness.


The results of a stool culture test are normally available in 2 to 3 days.

However, certain cultures for fungi and parasites may take many weeks to provide findings.

Stool culture

Normal: No disease-causing bacteria, fungi, parasites, or viruses are present or grow in the culture.
Abnormal: Bacteria (such assalmonella, shigella, or certain types ofE. coli) grow in the culture. Fungi such as yeast are found in the stool.

Typically, findings of a stool culture test take 2 to 3 days to come back. However, certain cultures for fungi and parasites might take many weeks to provide findings.


As of September 23, 2020, the information is current. Written by a member of the Healthwise staffMedical review by Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine Dr. E. Gregory Thompson is an Internal Medicine specialist. Dr. Martin J. Gabica specializes in family medicine. As of September 23, 2020, the information is current. Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney, MD – Family MedicineAuthor: Healthwise Staff Dr. E. Gregory Thompson is an Internal Medicine specialist. Dr. Martin J. Gabica specializes in family medicine.

Stool Sample Culture Test

Depending on the severity of your stomach troubles, your doctor may prescribe a stool culture or request a stool sample from you. Bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that might be causing your illness can be found in your stool with this test.

Why Do You Need It?

If you have any of the following symptoms, your doctor may request this test for you:

  • Prolonged diarrhea that lasts for many days or longer. Poop that contains blood or mucous
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

If any of the following apply, your doctor may be more concerned:

  • You’re a child or an elderly person
  • You are suffering from a weaker immune system. Traveling outside of the United States is something you’ve done. tainted food or drink has been consumed by you
  • Your symptoms are really acute.

It is possible that you will require antibiotics to get rid of the infection or to prevent other health concerns, such as dehydration (losing too much fluid).

How Is a Stool Culture Done?

You’ll be required to provide a sample of your feces to your doctor. You will not be required to do this task at the doctor’s office. An alternative is to receive a specific container with a lid to take home with you. It’s possible that your name and birthday are printed on this. If you don’t know, you can write it down on the label. Your doctor will go through the procedure for collecting the sample as well as any specific instructions that may be required. In the majority of circumstances, you’ll follow the methods outlined below: Put something in your toilet to catch the excrement you produce.

  1. If your stool is not loose or watery, you might also place a piece of newspaper or plastic wrap over the toilet rim to prevent it from overflowing.
  2. It has the potential to take up germs that are not your own.
  3. Don’t touch anything with your hands.
  4. Don’t fill the container to the brim.
  5. Make sure to include any bleeding, slimy, or watery bits in your collection.
  6. If you need to go to the bathroom, do so before you begin.
  7. Any residual feces should be flushed into the toilet.
  8. It can be stored in your refrigerator until then, but only for a maximum of 24 hours per container.

Inform your doctor of any medications you are currently taking, since these may have an impact on your test findings. They should also be aware of any herbs, supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter medications, or illicit substances that you are using.

When Do You Get the Results?

Once your sample has arrived at the lab, it will be spread onto a specific sterile plate that will aid in the growth of bacteria. Any that do is subjected to a closer examination under a microscope. The majority of the time, you should have your findings within 1 or 2 days.

What Do the Results Mean?

If your test results come back negative, this indicates that everything is OK. There were no germs identified in your feces, and you are not infected with anything. A positive test result indicates that your feces was contaminated with a germ, virus, or other sort of bacterium during the testing process. Your doctor will be informed of the sort of infection and which medications will be used to combat it by the lab. This can assist them in determining the best course of action.

008144: Stool Culture

When Salmonella typhi, Salmonella choleraesuis, or Salmonella enteritidis produce enteric fever, blood cultures may be positive before stool cultures, therefore blood cultures should be performed as soon as possible; urine cultures may also be beneficial. Patients suffering from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) frequently have diarrhea (AIDS). A variety of bacterial pathogens, including the conventional pathogens, as well as uncommon opportunistic bacterial infections and parasite infestation, are typically responsible for the infection.

Rectal swabs are effective for diagnosing infections caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis.

Diarrhea Syndromes Classified by Predominant Features
Syndrome(Anatomic Site) Features Characteristic Etiologies
Gastroenteritis (stomach) Vomiting RotavirusNorwalk virusStaphylococcal food poisoningBacillus cereusfood poisoning
Enteritis(small bowel) Watery diarrheaLarge-volume stools, few in number EnterotoxigenicEscherichia coliVibrio choleraeAny enteric microbeInflammatory bowel disease
Dysentery, colitis (colon) Small-volume stools containing blood and/or mucus and many leukocytes ShigellaCampylobacterSalmonellaInvasiveE coliPlesiomonas shigelloidesAeromonas hydrophilaVibrio parahaemolyticusClostridium difficileEntamoeba histolyticaInflammatory bowel disease

Gastroenteritis, enteritis, and colitis are three frequent disorders that can occur in people who have acute or subacute diarrhea (dysenteric syndrome). Patients suffering from colitis have fecal urgency and tenesmus. Stools are typically tiny in volume and contain blood, mucus, and leukocytes, as well as other substances. External hemorrhoids are quite prevalent and extremely painful. It is suggested by the passing of a few high volume stools that the diarrhea is of small bowel origin. This is due to the buildup of fluid in the large bowel prior to transit into the colon.

The presence of bacterial diarrhea in the absence of fecal leukocytes and the presence of parasitic diarrhea in the absence of bacterial or parasitic agents are both possible (ie, idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease).

Despite the fact that most instances of bacterial diarrhea are temporary (1 to 30 days), cases of chronic symptoms (10 months or more) have been documented.

3Infants less than one year of age who have a history of blood in the stool, more than ten stools in 24 hours, and a fever more than 39°C have a high likelihood of developing bacterial diarrhea, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

diarrhea is a typical adverse effect of long-term antibiotic therapy, according to the CDC. Despite the fact that Clostridium difficile is the most often linked pathogen, other bacteria and yeasts have been implicated. 6

Fecal Culture: Purpose, Procedure & Risks

What Is the Definition of Fecal Culture? It is possible to detect what sorts of bacteria are present in your digestive system using a fecal culture, which is performed in a laboratory. Bacterial infections and diseases can be caused by certain kinds of bacteria. Your doctor can determine which types of bacteria are present in your feces or stool by doing a feces or stool test. This can assist them in determining the source of their digestive difficulties as well as the most appropriate treatment approach for them.

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Enteric pathogens culture or stool culture were the terms used to describe this procedure.

Symptoms might include any of the following:

  • Cramping in your abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood or mucus in your stool
  • And a high temperature

Before ordering the test, your doctor will ask you a series of questions to determine whether your symptoms are the result of a food-borne disease. For example, if you recently consumed raw eggs or badly prepared meals, you may have had similar reactions to those described above. In addition, your doctor will inquire as to whether or not you have traveled outside of the United States. International tourists, particularly those who have traveled to impoverished countries, may be at more risk of food contamination than domestic visitors.

  1. Those with compromised immune systems, on the other hand, may require antibiotics to help them fight infections.
  2. Your doctor may prescribe more than one stool test over the course of many weeks or months.
  3. A fecal culture test does not pose any dangers to the patient.
  4. Remember to thoroughly wash your hands with antibacterial soap after you’ve finished collecting your sample.
  5. This includes a container, which you will need to return together with your stool sample for testing in order to receive credit.
  6. It is customary to collect a feces sample by placing a piece of wax paper over the bottom of your toilet bowl.
  7. Place a sample of your feces on the wax paper and place it in the container provided before giving it to your doctor.
  8. The sample is examined under a microscope to determine whether or not bacteria are present.
  9. The results will be used by your doctor to determine the sort of bacteria that is present in your digestive tract.
  10. Identifying the source of your symptoms allows them to recommend the most appropriate antibiotic or other treatment plan for you.
  11. Obtaining a fecal culture is a straightforward and risk-free method for your doctor to learn more about the microorganisms in your digestive tract.

In the event that you have been having persistent digestive difficulties such as diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea, you should consult with your doctor. They may ask you to submit a fecal culture in order to better determine the source of your condition.

Why Might Your Healthcare Provider Order A Stool Culture?

If you are experiencing digestive difficulties, such as diarrhea, you should visit your doctor. If the condition persists after visiting your doctor, you should see a gastroenterologist. When you have symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach discomfort, nausea, or vomiting, your healthcare practitioner will want to run certain tests to determine whether there is an underlying explanation for them. In some cases, a stool culture will be ordered as part of a series of tests that will be performed to determine what is causing all of the symptoms.

Fortunately, a stool test is noninvasive and, when it comes to testing, it is rather simple.

Why It’s Used

When attempting to develop harmful bacteria from feces, a stool culture is utilized. These bacteria can cause gastrointestinal infections, which manifest as symptoms such as diarrhea, blood, or mucus in the stool, stomach discomfort, and nausea or vomiting, among other signs and symptoms. By culturing bacteria in the laboratory, it is possible to discover bacteria that cause intestinal disorders such as cholera, typhoid fever, and dysentery, among others. When it comes to identifying bacteria, other quick tests have largely supplanted stool culture.

Because there are so many different types of normal bacteria present in feces, it is possible that detecting infections will be difficult.

Prolonged diarrhea can be a sign of any of the three diseases listed above.

How to Prepare for a Stool Culture

For a stool culture, there are normally no preparations necessary; feces is simply collected in a sterile container and transported to a laboratory for testing. To collect stool samples, the physician or another healthcare professional who orders the test will supply the patient with a sterile container (along with any other items needed to complete the test, such as disposable gloves). It is necessary to take precautions to ensure that the feces does not become contaminated by urine or toilet water.

It is possible to collect feces in the event of diarrhea by wearing a disposable glove and placing a sample cup beneath the bottom of the toilet bowl while using it.

For samples that are not taken to the lab immediately or collected at the lab, they should be refrigerated to maintain their coolness or kept cold.

The presence of bacteria may often be determined with just one sample, but it may be necessary to collect up to three specimens from distinct bowel movements in order to rule out illness or parasites.

How a Stool Sample Is Performed

Following the placement of the feces in the culture, it may take two to three days for any bacteria present in the stool to begin to develop. Afterwards, these bacteria may be separated and studied under a microscope to determine whether or not they are pathogenic.

Potential Risks

If the stool is collected while one is alone in the bathroom, this test is safe, painless, and relatively private. Even though many patients may be embarrassed or uncomfortable about submitting their stool samples to a lab, it is important to remember that receiving stool samples is a standard part of the job for lab technicians, and it is simply business as usual for them. To help alleviate some of the embarrassment, placing the sample in a bag, such as a brown paper bag, and transporting it to the lab can help.

Follow-up Necessary

In a few days, you should contact your healthcare practitioner to find out the findings. A pathogen is discovered, and the test results are positive or “isolated,” it may be required to treat the patient. The type of bacteria that was discovered will determine the sort of therapy that is required. The majority of the time, only one type of bacteria will be present in the feces, but in other circumstances, there may be several pathogens present in the stool. If no pathogen is discovered, this is referred to as a result of negative or “not isolated,” and more tests (or a repeat stool culture) may be required to determine the source of the symptoms (or the stool culture may need to be repeated).

A Word From Verywell

Stool cultures are rather humiliating, but they are not difficult to do and are very basic. The results of the test should be available within a few days, and they will assist to either confirm or rule out the presence of a bacterial infection. There will very certainly be follow-up from the test, whether the result is positive or negative, because treatment may be required in the case of a positive result, and more testing may be required in the case of a negative result. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

There was a clerical error.

Verywell Health relies on only high-quality sources, such as peer-reviewed research, to substantiate the information contained in its articles.

  1. Michigan Medicine is affiliated with the University of Michigan. Stool culture
  2. Laboratory tests available online. Calprotectin

Stool Culture Test

Infections caused by bacteria such as Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, and Enterohemorrhagic E coli are detected by a Stool Culture Test. This test may be used to diagnose diseases such as Typhoid Fever, Enteric Fever, Bacillary Dysentery, and Salmonella infection in stool samples. Code for the test: 008144 It is also known as: Comprehensive Stool Culture; Enteric Pathogens Culture Routine; Faecal Microbiology Routine; Stool Microbiology Routine; E Coli; Bacterial Culture, stool Methodology: EHEC Shiga-like toxins were detected using an enzyme immunoassay after an aerobic culture on selected medium (EIA) It is necessary to present your lab order to the lab in order to receive an appropriate specimen container before collecting your specimens.

There is no need for any prior preparation. The results of the test will be available in 3-5 days. Weather, holidays, and lab delays may cause the process to take longer.

NOT AVAILABLE AT THE MOMENT Code for the test: 10108 It is also known as: Comprehensive Stool Culture; Enteric Pathogens Culture Routine; Faecal Microbiology Routine; Stool Microbiology Routine; E Coli; Bacterial Culture, stool Bacterial culture was used as a method. Procedures for the isolation and identification of aerobic organisms Broth Enhanced Enzyme Immunoassay (BEEI) is a kind of enzyme immunoassay. It is necessary to present your lab order to the lab in order to receive an appropriate specimen container before collecting your specimens.

The results of the test will be available in 3-5 days.


It is used to identify the presence of disease-causing bacterial species in the stool such as Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, and Enterohemorrhagic E coli and to help in the diagnosis of diseases such as Typhoid Fever, Enteric Fever, Bacillary Dysentery, and Salmonella infection. When someone is having chronic diarrhea, this test is most typically performed to help in the identification of a digestive system infection. Additional susceptibility testing may be undertaken at no additional expense if the findings of the culture indicate that it is necessary.

The ordering of a stool culture may be necessary when a person exhibits the following signs and symptoms of a digestive system infection:

  • Long-lasting diarrhea that may involve blood and/or mucus
  • Diarrhea that is bloody or mucusy
  • Pain and cramping in the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting, as well as a fever

Not everyone who exhibits these symptoms will be tested or treated as a result of their occurrence. The majority of the time, these infections recover with supportive care and without the need for antibiotics in persons who have a sound immune system. A stool culture is more likely to be requested if a person has any of the following characteristics:

  • When a person experiences severe symptoms such as dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and/or other consequences
  • Is too young, too old, or has a damaged immune system to survive
  • Diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a leading cause of death worldwide. It is the second biggest cause of mortality in children under the age of five in the globe, claiming the lives of an estimated 2,195 children per day. Is characterized by persistent signs and symptoms as well as infections that do not clear on their own
  • Has a gastrointestinal infection when traveling outside of the United States, particularly to developing countries
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that 30 percent to 70 percent of people who travel outside of the United States may have a GI infection
  • Food or fluids that may have been contaminated with dangerous microorganisms, such as raw or undercooked meat, raw eggs, or the same food that has caused others to become ill
  • Is sick, and a probable foodborne or waterborne outbreak compels the medical community to investigate and determine the source of the illness
  • Contaminated vegetables, contaminated food from a certain restaurant, and/or illness aboard a cruise liner are all instances of what might happen.

Among the procedures performed are culture, isolation and identification of Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter, and the detection of enterohemorrhagic E coli (EHEC) Shiga toxin by enzyme immunoassay. Walk-In Lab, LLC was established in the year 2022. All intellectual property rights are retained. Information is subject to change at any time without prior notice. Return to the top of the page

Stool test

A stool test checks the contents of the feces (poop). In order to diagnose issues with the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, stool tests are performed on the patient. A stool test may be performed to check for the following conditions:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Infection from bacteria, viruses, or fungi
  • Parasites
  • Digestive disorders
  • And other causes of internal bleeding

Colorectal cancer screening involves the use of stool tests to check for bleeding within the gastrointestinal system. Learn more about the importance of colorectal cancer screening. Stool tests are available in a variety of formats. The sort of stool test that is performed is determined by the reason for the test and the results that the doctor is searching for.

  • A gFOBT (guaiac-based fecal occult blood test) is a chemical reaction on a paper card that is used to detect blood traces in the stool that are not visible to the naked eye. To detect blood in the feces that cannot be seen with the naked eye, a FIT (fecal immunochemical test) is performed using particular antibodies for human blood
  • A stool culture is performed in order to identify bacteria that are not ordinarily seen in the gastrointestinal system. Stool fat testing examines the presence of excess fat in the stool to determine whether or not the body is having difficulty absorbing fat from diet.
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Typically, a stool sample is taken at the patient’s residence. When collecting and storing the stool sample, make sure you use latex gloves and follow your doctor’s recommendations. Stool collection can be accomplished using a variety of means, including:

  • A hat-shaped plastic container that is put over the toilet bowl is used. using plastic wrap to cover the toilet bowl in a loose manner making a diaper liner out of plastic wrap (for babies or little children)

if the urine (pee) is mixed with the feces or if the stool comes into contact with the inside wall of the toilet bowl, a second sample will need to be obtained At the lab, the stool sample will be examined under a microscope to determine its composition. Normal stool is typically brown in color, soft in texture, and well-formed in consistency. It does not include any blood, mucus, pus, or microorganisms that are hazardous. A variety of factors can contribute to abnormal findings from various types of testing, including:

  • Peptic ulcers are caused by a variety of factors, including infection, parasites, digestive conditions, and the use of aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Hemorrhoids are enlarged, swollen veins that can occur inside or outside of the anus. Polyps are growths that can form on the colon or rectum. Anal fissures are thin tears in the lining of the anus.

Your doctor may prescribe more tests, treatments, follow-up care, or therapy if the results of the initial tests and procedures are negative. Making children feel more at ease before a test or treatment can assist to reduce their anxiety, boost their cooperation, and help them to build coping mechanisms. The explanation of what will happen throughout the exam, including what they will see, feel, and hear is an important part of this process for youngsters.

A child’s preparation for a stool test is dependent on the child’s age and previous experience. Find out more about how to assist your kid deal with testing and treatments by reading this article.

  • Fischbach FT, Fischbach MA. Fischbach FT, Fischbach MA. Fischbach’s A Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests is a reference book for laboratory and diagnostic tests. Wolters Kluwer, 10th edition, 2018
  • Wilkes is the general manager. Cancers of the colon, rectal, and anal tissues. Yarbro CH, Wujcki D, Holmes Gobel B, Yarbro CH, Yarbro CH (eds.). Cancer Nursing: Principles and Practice, 8th ed., is a textbook for cancer nurses. Jones and Bartlett Learning, Burlington, Massachusetts
  • 2018: 51: 1423 – 1485

Fecal culture: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

A fecal culture is a laboratory test that is used to identify organisms in the stool (feces) that might cause gastrointestinal symptoms and illness. It is necessary to get a stool sample. There are a variety of options for gathering the sample. You may obtain a sample by contacting:

  • On a piece of plastic wrap. Make sure that the toilet bowl is covered loosely with the wrap and that the toilet seat is holding it in place. Place the sample in a clean container that was provided to you by your health-care professional. In a test kit that includes a specific toilet paper, the results are recorded. Place it in a clean container provided by your service provider
  • And

Do not mix the sample with any other substances such as urine, water, or toilet tissue. Children that are diapered should be dressed as follows:

  • Plastic wrap should be used to line the diaper. Placing the plastic wrap in such a way that it will prevent urine and feces from mingling is important. This will result in a more representative sample

To ensure that the sample is returned to the laboratory as soon as feasible, Toilet paper and urine should not be included in the samples. A technician in the lab collects a sample of the specimen and sets it on a separate dish. This is followed by filling the dish with a gel that encourages the development of bacteria or other pathogens. If there is growth, it is possible to identify the germs. In addition, the lab technician may do further tests in order to find the appropriate therapy. You will be provided with a container for collecting the stool samples.

  1. If you have severe diarrhea that won’t go away or that keeps coming back, you may need to have it done.
  2. Consult with your healthcare practitioner about the significance of your specific test findings.
  3. Collection and management of specimens for the diagnosis of infectious illnesses are important tasks.
  4. and Pincus M.R., edited the book Henry’s Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods (Henry’s).
  5. G.S.
  6. Woods, Medical Bacteriology.
  7. and Pincus M.R., edited the book Henry’s Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods (Henry’s).

Melia JMP, Sears CL, Melia JMP et al.

Feldman, M., Friedman, L., and Brandt, L.J.

Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease by Sleisenger and Fordtran is a classic text.

11th ed.

Siddiqi HA, Salwen MJ, Shaikh MF, Bowne WB.

The authors, McPherson R.A.

The 23rd edition.

Michael M.

In addition, David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial staff examined the manuscript for accuracy.

Stool culture

More than 90% of cases of acute diarrhoea are caused by infectious agents1 that are spread by faecal-oral transmission, either through direct human contact or through the intake of contaminated food or water.1 It is critical to be familiar with the wide variety of infections that can cause infectious diarrhoeal syndromes (Tables 1–3) in order to effectively treat patients.

Table 1. Clinical infectious diarrhoeal syndromes
Syndrome Clinical features Epidemiology Typical pathogens
Watery diarrhoea Loose, watery stools, no blood Most common presentation
  • The following bacteria: Campylobacterspp
  • Salmonellaspp
  • Shigellaspp
  • Vibriospp
  • Yersiniaspp
  • Plesiomonasspp
  • Aeromonasspp
  • The majority of viruses and parasites
Bloody diarrhoea Bloody stools, sometimes mucous or pusOften abdominal pain, fever, tenesmus Less common
  • Escherichia coli (STEC), Shigellaspp., Campylobacterspp., Shigellaspp., Shigellaspp., Shigellaspp., Shigellaspp., Shigellaspp.
Table 2. Infectious diarrhoeal syndromes in particular epidemiological settings

Travellers’ diarrhoea Loose, watery stools sometimes bloody Visitors to developing tropical/semi-tropical countries
  • Bacteria that cause enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) and enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) include Campylobacterspp. 8 and Salmonellaspp., viruses and parasites, and other pathogens.
Nosocomial diarrhoea Spectrum of disease; mild diarrhoea, fulminant colitis, toxic megacolonHealthcare and antibiotic associated diarrhoea 9 Risk factors:
Community acquired disease (increasingly common 2)
Diarrhoea in immunocompromised patients Variable presentationCareful investigation required
  • Patient’s with HIV
  • Recipients of solid organ/bone marrow transplants
  • Cancer patients who are receiving chemotherapy
  • Salmonellaspp., Shigellaspp., Campylobacterspp., Atypical mycobacteria 10
  • Viruses and parasites 10
  • Salmonellaspp., Shigellaspp., Campylobacterspp., Atypical mycobacteria 10
  • Salmonellaspp., Shigellaspp., Campylobacterspp., Salmonellaspp., Shigellaspp., Salmonellaspp.,
Table 3. Bacterial pathogens that cause acute diarrhoea
Pathogen Major modes of transmission Clinical features Epidemiological features
Campylobacter jejuni Food borne
  • Flu-like symptoms including fever and bloody diarrhoea are possible.
  • It is a widespread infection
  • It is associated with undercooked chicken and is a common cause of travellers’ diarrhoea.
  • Undercooked chicken, eggs, and other animal products are frequently contaminated with this disease.
Shigellaspp. Person-to-personFood and water borne
  • Frequently severe diarrhoea, bloody stools, fever, and stomach discomfort are all symptoms.
  • Human reservoir
  • Low infectious inoculum
  • Low infectious inoculum Cases of secondary infection are prevalent in homes
  • The most severe illness is caused by S. dysenteriae, which is primarily seen in impoverished nations.
  • Usually causes watery diarrhoea
  • However, it can also cause fever and bloody diarrhoea, and it can mimic acute appendicitis.
  • Animal reservoir (particularly pigs)
  • Associated with the production of pork products
Shiga-toxin producingE. coli(STEC), includesE. coli0157 Food borne
  • Symptoms include: watery diarrhoea, which can escalate to bloody diarrhoea
  • A significant contributing factor to haemolytic uraemic syndrome
  • Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.
  • It is found in cattle as a reservoir
  • It is associated with undercooked meat (particularly ground beef)
  • Associated with shellfish and other seafood (especially prominent throughout the summer months)
  • And
  • Symptoms include watery diarrhoea, bloody feces, and fever. Symptoms of severe illness are present in patients with liver disease and cancer.
  • Associated with international travel, oyster intake, and other seafood consumption
  • Acute watery diarrhoea, bloody diarrhoea, and persistent diarrhoea are all possible symptoms. Symptoms of severe illness are present in patients with liver disease and cancer.
SalmonellaentericaserovarsTyphi andParatyphi Food and water borne
  • Symptoms of systemic toxicity include stomach pain, fever with or without diarrhoea, and bacteraemia.
  • Travelers visiting underdeveloped nations are the majority of the population. Food and water that have been contaminated
  • Reservoir of human resources
Clostridium difficile Bacteria and spores in the hospital environment (eg. the hands of staff, fomites including benchtops and surfaces)
  • Diarrhoea is generally watery but can be bloody
  • The disease has a wide range of symptoms. It is possible to develop a toxic megacolon, perforation, and death.
  • The most prevalent cause of healthcare-associated diarrhoea and antibiotic-associated diarrhea is 9
  • Community-acquired disease (CAD) is being more recognized.

Indications for testing

The majority of episodes of acute diarrhoea are mild and self-limiting, necessitating no further evaluation or treatment. Returning travelers, patients with diarrhoea that has continued for more than 4–5 days, patients with bloody stools, immunocompromised patients, and situations where there is suspicion of an epidemic of enteric disease are all candidates for investigation, regardless of the severity of their illness. Admission to the hospital is typically only necessary in the case of severe dehydration, severe toxaemia, recurrent vomiting, or severe stomach discomfort, among other things.


Logical positioning of stool cultures relative to other related investigations

Before obtaining a stool culture, it is critical to conduct a comprehensive clinical history and examination. There are a number of nonbacterial causes of diarrhoea that should be explored in the differential diagnosis, including viral and parasite infections. When it comes to viruses, children are more susceptible (especially to rotavirus and adenovirus). Viruses are normally self-limiting in nature. Norovirus is also a common cause of community-acquired diarrhoea, according to the CDC. For the identification of viruses in the feces, nucleic acid amplification tests or antigen detection assays are available; however, they are seldom used in the outpatient context because of the high cost.

  1. travel, immunocompromised host).
  2. It is becoming widely recognized that Clostridium difficile is a source of community-acquired diarrhoea.
  3. 3 Should a stool specimen be submitted for culture and/or antigen screening when C.
  4. A condition known as “food poisoning” happens when a person consumes pre-formed bacterial toxins that have been present in food.

What should I tell my patient about the test?

Collected feces specimens should be loose or unformed, as many laboratories will not handle stool specimens that have been formed during the collecting procedure. Stool specimens are recommended over rectal swabs as a source of information. The patient should empty his or her feces into a clean, dry pan or a container that is attached to the toilet. Afterwards, 5 mL of diarrhoeal stool or 1–2 cubic centimetres of faeces should be collected and placed into an airtight container with a screw-top cover.

Because of the possibility of faecal-oral transmission of infections, it is essential to practice thorough hand hygiene after collecting and handling feces specimens.

It is never recommended to freeze stool specimens.

Some laboratories may reject specimens if they are received more than 2 hours after they were collected and have not been transported via a transport medium. Delays in the processing of specimens can have a negative impact on the recovery of certain bacteria, such as the Shigellaspecies of bacteria.

Timing of the test

When collecting fecal specimens, it is important to do so as early in the disease’ course as feasible because pathogen numbers drop as time passes. If more than one specimen is required, it is recommended that they be gathered on different days. The findings of the culture are normally available within three days of receiving the material in the laboratory.

Medicare eligibility and/or costs for the patient

Microscopy and culture of faeces, pathogen identification and susceptibility testing (a single examination in a 7 day period) is fully covered for eligible patients by the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) (MBS).

How does the test work?

When the specimen is received at the laboratory, it is examined for consistency and the presence of blood or mucus on the surface of the specimen. After that, microscopy is used to check for erythrocytes and leucocytes, as well as for eggs, cysts, and parasites, among other things. If a parasitic illness is suspected, a complete investigation for eggs, cysts, and parasites should be ordered specifically, since the laboratory must treat these specimens using particular procedures to ensure that no parasites are present.

  1. Lactoferrin is an iron-binding glycoprotein present in the granules of leucocytes that is used to detect the presence of leucocytes in the feces.
  2. The term “selective and differential media” refers to media that are employed for the isolation and preliminary identification of certain organisms, respectively.
  3. Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter species are frequently cultured in laboratories for identification.
  4. coli that produces Shiga toxin and Clostridium difficile, necessitates the use of specialized laboratory procedures.
  5. Salmonellaisolates are sent to a reference laboratory for serotyping in order to protect the public’s health from infection.

What do the results mean?

Stool culture is used to determine the presence of any potentially pathogenic organisms in a sample.

What won’t it tell you?

It is possible to identify the presence of pathogens in stool samples using a stool culture technique (see below).

What are the common next steps if the test is positive?

The majority of bouts of bacterial diarrhoea are self-limiting, and the majority of treatment is supportive in nature. The use of antibiotics to treat bacterial diarrhoea is a topic that has generated a great deal of discussion and is beyond the scope of this article. However, a positive stool culture does not necessitate the use of antibiotics; good recommendations for the diagnosis and management of infectious diarrhoea are available on the website of the Infectious Diseases Society of America ().

In many jurisdictions, specific enteric pathogens that cause diarrhoea must be reported to the appropriate public health authorities.

When a laboratory result is received, it is the asking practitioner’s obligation to notify the appropriate authorities. In the laboratory report, the requirement to notify an infection should be indicated at the conclusion of the report.

What if the result is negative?

After a negative stool culture is obtained and the diarrhoea persists, consideration should be given to clinical re-evaluation and/or further investigations for nonbacterial (e.g. parasites, viruses) and noninfectious (e.g. gastrointestinal parasites) causes of diarrhoea (eg. inflammatory bowel disease or adverse effects of medication). This may involve stool examination for eggs, cysts, and parasites, antigen detection tests, nucleic acid amplification tests, blood tests (e.g., a full blood count including peripheral blood eosinophilia, parasite serology, serum chemistry), and endoscopy, among other procedures.

This is especially true when contemplating additional testing or empirical therapy.

Special features of the test

To assist the laboratory in doing the proper type of stool cultures, it is necessary to provide detailed clinical information. It is critical to ensure that these are stated in a legible manner on the application form. The age of the patient, whether or not the patient is immunocompromised, the patient’s history, the location and timing of foreign travel, recent consumption of shellfish or seafood, the presence of blood in the stools, fever or abdominal pain, and the patient’s recent antibiotic therapy are all examples of appropriate clinical information.

Reporting of results

Figure 1 is an example of a laboratory report for illustration. Illustration of a laboratory report (Figure 1).


During the examination of a patient with suspected infectious diarrhoea, stool culture is a crucial component of the inquiry. It is crucial to have a thorough grasp of the most prevalent infections and to recognize that providing proper clinical information to the laboratory is critical in order to guarantee that the right stool testing is conducted when dealing with these pathogens. Declaration: Christopher Heath has served on the Antifungal Advisory Boards of Gilead Sciences Inc (Australia), Merck SharpDohme (Australia), Pfizer, and Schering Plough, and has received reimbursement for expenses incurred while attending IDSA and ICCAC meetings from both Merck and Pfizer, among other companies.


Thanks to Mr Brian MacKenzie of the Enteric Laboratory at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands, Western Australia for his assistance. –

Stool Tests- Types, Purpose, Procedure, Result Interpretation

In addition to stool culture and stool sample test, a stool test is also known as a faecal sample test or a stool sample test. A stool sample can be tested for the presence of blood to aid with the diagnosis of medical disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, stomach or colon cancer, anal fissures, and hemorrhoids, as well as the detection of blood in your stool sample. In order to identify whether or not a bacteria or any other pathogen has affected the intestines, stool tests are performed.

However, not all microbes in the stomach are harmful; in fact, some are required for optimal digestion. When bacteria or parasites attack your intestines, they create bloody diarrhoea, which may be diagnosed by analyzing the stool for the presence of these pathogens.

Types of Stool Tests

In order to determine whether there are parasites or ova(egg) in your stool sample, your doctor may perform an ova and parasites test. The test is typically recommended if you are having symptoms linked with an intestinal infection, such as those described below:

  • Blood or mucus in your feces
  • The presence of blood in your stool Acute stomach discomfort, headache, vomiting, and nausea are all symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

You’ll need to collect feces samples at home, using latex gloves and plastic wrap to protect yourself from contamination. Before using the toilet, make sure that the plastic wrap is completely covered. It is not acceptable for the sample to contain urine or toilet water. Following the collection of the sample in a container, it should be returned to the lab as soon as possible in order to obtain reliable findings. Positive results may suggest the presence of parasites and ova in your stool sample, which might be harmful to you.

  • Roundworms, flatworms, hookworms, and tapeworms are all examples of Entamoeba fragilis, Balantidium coli, Cyclospora cayetanensis, and other parasites.

White Blood Cell Test

This test is frequently used to determine the presence of leukocytes or White Blood Cells in a stool specimen. White blood cells (WBC) are immune system cells that help the body fight infections. They are seen in large numbers in the bloodstream. The presence of leukocytes in the feces may suggest a bacterial infection or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which is a disorder characterized by inflammation in the digestive tract. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, your doctor may request this test for you:

  • Having mucus or blood in your feces
  • More than four days of watery diarrhoea is considered to be severe. Fever, abdominal ache, and fatigue are all symptoms of the flu.

For the purpose of collecting your stool sample, the healthcare practitioner will give you with a particular container. Check to be that there is no pee, toilet paper, or water in your stool sample before sending it in. After you have collected the sample, you should seal it and return it to the healthcare professional. If your white blood cell test results come back negative, it means that there are no leukocytes present in your stool sample, which is what you want to hear. It is possible that the symptoms you are experiencing are not caused by an illness.

It’s possible that you have an irritation in your digestive tract.

H.Pylori Antigen Test

Bacteria known as H.Pylori or Helicobacter pylori invade the digestive tract and cause stomach pain and ulcers. Some people may never show any signs of illness, despite the fact that these germs have infected them. H. Pylori, on the other hand, may cause gastrointestinal diseases in some people, such as ulcerative colitis.

  • Acid reflux (a disorder characterized by sores in the stomach, small intestine, or oesophagus)
  • And peptic ulcers Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach that can occur. Alternatively, certain kinds of stomach cancer

The exam is frequently used to determine

  • Detect the presence of H. Pylori in your digestive system
  • Inspect to see whether the digestive symptoms are the result of a virus or illness
  • Determine whether or whether the therapy for H. Pylori infection is effective.

If you’re suffering symptoms that might indicate a peptic ulcer, such as heartburn or nausea, your doctor may request this test.

  • Nausea, indigestion, and abdominal discomfort are all possible symptoms. Vulnerability to vomiting, gastric discomfort

Ensure that the stool sample does not include any urine, toilet water, or toilet paper before returning it to the healthcare provider in the appropriate container supplied to you by the healthcare provider.

Stool samples are deposited in vials together with color developer, after which chemical additives are added to make them more vibrant. If the color of the sample changes to blue, this indicates the presence of H. Pylori in your stool.

Faecal Occult Blood Test

This test is useful in determining whether or not there is any concealed or occult blood in a sample of your feces. If you have a little quantity of blood in your stool, it might suggest bleeding in your digestive system as a result of illnesses such as Crohn’s disease.

  • Ulcers, polyps (a noncancerous tissue growth on your mucous membrane), and other conditions. Diverticulosis (a medical disease in which tiny pouches grow in the digestive tract)
  • Diverticulitis (a medical condition in which small pouches develop in the digestive tract)
  • Colitis (colorectal inflammation or swelling) is a condition that affects the colon. Haemorrhoids (a disorder characterized by enlarged blood vessels around your anus or rectum)
  • Colorectal cancer
  • And ovarian cancer are all possible causes of death.

You may be suffering from digestive tract bleeding if you test positive for any of the several types of afaecal occult blood tests available. However, this does not necessarily imply that you have cancer in your body. It is possible to have polyps, haemorrhoids, ulcers, or benign tumors in the faecal occult blood test results.

Stool DNA test

It is possible to discover aberrant DNA in your stool sample if you have colon polyps or colon cancer. It is also possible to find traces of blood in your stool sample if you have occult blood. Having a stool DNA test performed is a screening test for colon cancer and precancerous polyps in persons who are not experiencing any of the signs and symptoms associated with colon cancer. If you have polyps or cancer in your colon, it is possible that cells with aberrant DNA will be lost into your feces.

The result of your test is considered positive if there are aberrant DNA alterations associated with polyps or colon cancer in your sample, as well as evidence of occult blood.

You will need to have a further test, such as a colonoscopy, to determine if you have polyps or cancer in your colon.

It is usually not suggested to proceed with further testing in such situations.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are two types of faecal occult blood tests: the immunochemical approach and the guaiac smear method. The immunochemical method is the more common. You will need to collect three different stool samples for each of the two tests. Your healthcare physician will present you with a test card, on which you will need to smear a tiny bit of faeces. You must label and seal all of the stool samples before delivering them to your healthcare physician for analysis.

What is the common treatment for peptic ulcer caused by H.Pylori Bacteria?

Typically, the therapy consists of a mixture of particular medications and antibiotics, such as histamine receptor blockers, proton pump inhibitors, and Pepto Bismol, which are taken for a period of several weeks and work by decreasing the quantity of stomach acid generated in the stomach.

What happens during a Stool DNA test?

A stool DNA test kit will be provided to you by your healthcare practitioner, which you will use to collect and submit the sample. The test kit contains a container as well as a preservative solution for storing results.

Before returning the stool sample to the lab, you must attach the container to the toilet and apply the solution to the sample before flushing it. In contrast to the faecal occult blood test, you only need to collect and submit a single sample for this test.

What does the positive and negative result indicate in an H.Pylori antigen test?

In the case of a positive H.Pylori test, it means that your symptoms were caused by the bacteria H.Pylori, and that the ulcer was produced by the bacteria. A negative H.Pylori test suggests that the symptoms you’ve been experiencing have been caused by anything other than an H.Pylori infection, and it’s less probable that you have an infection with H.Pylori.

Do I need to prepare for the faecal occult blood test?

Certain drugs and meals may have an impact on the outcomes of the guaiac smear procedure. One week before the test, your doctor may advise you to refrain from using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Additionally, you may be advised to refrain from consuming any vitamin C (more than 250mg per day) derived from fruits, fruit juices, or supplements for one week before to the test, as well as from consuming any red meat (including hog, beef, and lamb) for three days prior to the test.

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