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Faecal Culture & Microscopy

Microbiology


Specimen

Stool Sample

Specimen container

Fecon pot

Special Instructions

Please give details of any foreign travel.

Please indicate if any of the following are suspected:

  • Food poisoning
  • Parasites
  • Mesenteric adenitis

Please give details if there has been any recent consumption of seafood or contact with salt-water (e.g. Swimming.)

Please state if sample is being sent as part of an outbreak – if yes please give outbreak number

Please state if this is a clearance test ( e.g previous positive E coli O157 etc)

Please ensure that stool sample pots are filled between 1/3 to 1/2 full. This is sufficient sample volume for all stool tests. Under-filling or over-filling stool sample pots may lead to samples being unsuitable for analysis.

Specimen Collection Procedure

1. DO NOT mix urine with the stool. If you need to pass water, do so first.

2. Place a wide mouth container (potty, empty plastic food container e.g. 1 litre ice cream carton) in the bowl, or put clean newspaper or plastic wrap over the toilet seat opening (this prevents the faecal specimen from falling into the toilet bowl. (Collection container does not have to be sterile, but must be clean).

3. Pass stool onto the potty, plastic container, newspaper or plastic wrap.

4. Using the spoon built into the lid of the collection tube (or the wooden sticks, if supplied), place small scoopfuls of stool from areas which appear bloody, slimy or watery into the tube. DO NOT OVERFILL. Try not to spill stool on the outside of the tube.

5. Replace the collection tube lid and screw on tightly.

6. Dispose of remaining stools in your potty, plastic container or newspaper down the toilet. Clean potty with soapy water. Wrap plastic container, newspaper or plastic wrap in newspaper and dispose of in normal refuse in a plastic bag.

7. Label the collection tube with your name, date of birth, and the date of collection.

8. Place the container in the plastic bag attached to the specimen request form.

9. Wash your hands thoroughly in hot running water with soap.

10. Deliver to the surgery/laboratory as soon as possible.

11. If specimen cannot be delivered immediately, refrigerate in surgery fridge until delivery.

Test Usage

All samples are tested for:

Salmonella/ Shigella/ Campylobacter/ E. coli O157/ Giardia and Cryptosporidium. In addition:

  • Requests mentioning consumption of seafood or contact with salt-water will be cultured for Vibrio sp.
  • Requests mentioning foreign travel are also cultured for Vibrio sp (e.g. Cholera) and examined for ova, cysts & parasites by microscopy.
  • Requests with clinical details including mesenteric adenitis are also cultured for Yersinia enterocolitica.

Availability

Primary testing performed at RD&E.

Positive samples/cultures may be sent to UKHSA for epidemiological typing/confirmation.

Processing Time

48 -72 hours for negatives/ provisional positives. Confirmation of positives may take longer than this.

Useful Links

Gastrointestinal bacteria reference unit (GBRU), UKHSA Colindale

GBRU – Culture Referral Form

GBRU – Specimen Referral Form

Gastrointestinal infections: guidance, data and analysis – UKHSA

Stool Culture – Lab Tests Online UK

Specimen Labelling Procedure
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