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Enteric Pathogen Screen

About This Test

Department: Microbiology, Virology and Molecular Microbiology


Faeces -A liquid specimen of 1-2 mL is sufficient.1 gram (large pea-size) of solid specimen.

Only liquid specimens have been validated for this methodology. Formed stools will be tested, however a disclaimer will be added as the reliability of these results cannot be guaranteed.


Turnaround Time:

2-3 days


Screen for common bacterial and parasitic causes of diarrhoea. All faecal samples, except single organism screens, are tested for the following; Campylobacter species Salmonella species, Shiga toxin producing E.coli (STEC) including 0157, Shigella species, Cryptosporidium oocysts, Entemoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia. 

Samples are tested using PCR methodology for detection of DNA. Any positive will be confirmed by culture or other methods where relevant. 

Other Comments:

Collection container: Collect specimens in appropriate CE marked leak proof containers.

Specimen may be passed into a clean, dry, disposable bedpan or similar container and transferred into an appropriate CE marked leak proof containers and place in sealed plastic bags.

Special instructions -Relevant clinical data and details of recent or current antimicrobial treatment and any recent travel history should be provided.

Specimen transport: If processing is delayed, refrigeration is preferable to storage at ambient temperature

Patient collected samples

Your GP or another healthcare professional, such as a nurse, should explain how to collect the stool sample. It should be collected in a clean, dry screw-top container. Your doctor or a member of staff at the hospital will give you a plastic (specimen) container to use, although you can use any clean container as long as you can seal it

To collect a stool sample:

  • label the container with your name, date of birth and the date
  • place something in the toilet to catch the stool, such as a potty or an empty plastic food container, or spread clean newspaper or plastic wrap over the rim of the toilet
  • make sure the sample doesn't touch the inside of the toilet
  • use the spoon or spatula that comes with the container to place the sample in a clean screw-top container and screw the lid shut
  • if you've been given a container, aim to fill around a third of it – that's about the size of a walnut if you're using your own container
  • put anything you used to collect the sample in a plastic bag, tie it up and put it the bin
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm running water
  • Stool samples should be handed in as soon as possible, as some can't be analysed if they've been refrigerated – your doctor will tell you if this is the case .If you can't hand the stool sample in immediately, you should store it in a fridge, but for no longer than 24 hours. Place the container in a sealed plastic bag first.

Follow any other instructions your doctor gives you.

Further information can be found at