PTD - 84

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Test Directory -  Faeces

Test Includes

ROUTINE: Culture for Salmonella, Shigella and Campylobacter

CHILDREN LESS THAN 10 YEARS: Routine plus Adenovirus, Rotavirus and Cryptosporidium detection if appropriate.

TRAVELLER (Tropical, Mediterranean and certain other countries): Routine plus culture for Vibrio species and related organisms; concentrated examination for parasites and culture for E. coli 0157.

BLOODY DIARRHOEA:  Routine plus culture for E. coli 0157

ALSO AVAILABLE ON REQUEST (or when clinically indicated): 
Microscopy for white blood cells, red blood cells, and screen for ova, cysts and parasites.
Other food poisoning organisms: E. coli 0157, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens, Bacillus cereus
Viruses associated with shellfish and epidemic diarrhoea
Clostridium difficile antigen (GDH) in cases of antibiotic associated diarrhoea
PCR for Enteroviruses in cases of rash, pyrexia and myocarditis
Examination for Enterobius vermicularis ova (see "Specimen" section)
Electron microscopy or PCR for virus detection

Request Form 

Microbiology form (Green) 


On request during normal working hours

Specific Criteria

Please give detailed clinical information including: date of onset/ contact with the suspected infection; details of any recent travel (especially outside the UK), with dates; details of any possible food poisoning, or diarrhoea and vomiting, outbreak contacts, with dates; details of any recent, current, or intended, antibiotic therapy

Turnaround Time

Microscopy -same day
Cultures - Up to 48 hours
Rotavirus and Cryptosporidium - next normal working day after receipt
Clostridium difficile antigen - next normal working day after receipt
Electron microscopy and viral PCR - 7-10 days


Faeces (Up to three separate specimens may be submitted).  If multiple samples are sent together they must be labelled with the time of collection to indicate that they were collected at different times (see "Causes for Rejection" below)

Pin worm egg collecting kits are available from the Virology Laboratory (ext.3536 or 01268-593536) on request, for patients with suspected Enterobius vermicularis infection


A walnut sized portion should be submitted in a faeces container


Blue capped universal container with spoon


Samples should be transported to laboratory on day of collection

Lab. Handling

Samples should be processed on day of receipt

Causes for Rejection

Incorrectly and/or Insufficiently labelled sample
Delay in sample reaching laboratory

If multiple samples are received without any indication that they were collected at different times only one sample will be tested

Routine culture for Salmonella, Shigella and Campylobacter is no longer carried out on inpatient stool samples taken 3 or more days after admission, unless discussed with a Consultant Microbiologist. This does NOT apply to samples from paediatric wards, Edith Cavell and Orsett ward.


Version 1.0 / November 2013

Last edited 16/04/14