What is the role of a stool exam in the diagnosis of Shigella infection?

Updated: Apr 03, 2018
  • Author: Jaya Sureshbabu, MBBS, MRCPCH(UK), MRCPI(Paeds), MRCPS(Glasg), DCH(Glasg); Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Stool examination

  • Isolation of Shigella from feces or rectal swab specimen is diagnostic but lacks specificity. Routine microscopy may reveal sheets of leukocytes on methylene-blue stained stool smear, which is a sensitive test for colitis but not specific for Shigella species.

  • In approximately 70% of patients with shigellosis, fecal blood or leukocytes (confirming colitis) are detectable in the stool.


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