What is the role of culture in the workup of diarrhea?

Updated: Jan 31, 2020
  • Author: Stefano Guandalini, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Answer

Many different culture mediums are used to isolate bacteria. Table 3 lists common bacteria and optimum culture mediums for their growth. A high index of suspicion is needed to choose the appropriate medium.

With stool not cultured within 2 hours of collection, refrigerate at 4°C or place in a transport medium. Although stool cultures are useful when positive, yield is low.

Always culture stool for Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter organisms and Y enterocolitica in the presence of clinical signs of colitis or if fecal leucocytes are found.


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