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Bacterial Culture, aerobic culture only - Stool

Source Stool
Mnemonic M STOOL
Specimen Requirements

Acceptable sample: gross stool, feces,  small/large bowel contents.
Rectal swabs are suboptimal specimens and ONLY acceptable on approval of the Microbiologist on Call: 403-770-3757.
Submit gross stool (feces) and/or bowel contents in plain sterile container.

Refer to Laboratory Patient Collection Instructions: Collecting Stool Samples for Bacterial Culture, Rotavirus, Clostridium difficile Toxin, Parasite Screen and/or Ova and Parasites MI6000.

Stool may be  collected in a clean, dry disposable container, plastic wrap stretched under the toilet seat, or into a waxed cardboard container.
It MUST be a dry specimen i.e. not contaminated with water or urine.

The patient should be advised to select parts of stool which contain pus, mucous, or blood to transfer to the sterile container.

If an Ova and Parasite examination is also requested, a Stool Collection Kit comprised of a dry sterile container and a container with preservative (SAF) is used for collection.

Specimen Handling

Deliver specimen and requisition to the lab within 8 hours after collecting.
If delivery to laboratory is delayed, refrigerate specimen up to a maximum of 24 hours.

Leaking sample containers will NOT be accepted.

Additional Information

Routine stool culture includes the following:
Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC, including O157 and non-O157), Salmonella, Shigella and Campylobacter species.

Testing for additional bacterial pathogens (Yersinia, Vibrio and Plesiomonas species) will only be performed if an Extended Bacterial Stool Culture History Form MI6624 is completed and appropriate clinical, exposure or travel history is provided.

Only one stool culture should be initially ordered regardless of the clinical circumstances of the patient. If the initial sample is negative, then a second sample could be ordered later if clinically indicated. Microbiologist on Call 403-770-3757 must approve multiple testing. If multiple samples are submitted at the same time, ensure each sample container is labelled with the date and time of collection.

Only one stool sample for culture and sensitivity is accepted from hospitalized patients, and should be obtained within the first four hospital days.
Exceptions to the above would be stool samples from immunosuppressed patients, immigration and history of travel.

Negative culture turnaround time:
Final report - 72 hours.

Testing Location CLS Microbiology
Testing Frequency Daily
Alternate Name(s)

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