Faeces for bacterial pathogen detection by PCR

This test allows the detection and identification of pathogenic bacteria in the stool and replaces culture for Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella and E. coli 0:157.
PCR is more sensitive than culture and allows a faster turnaround time.
PCR positive samples will also be cultured for antimicrobial susceptibility and/or typing except for Campylobacter.
It is important to include a travel history and other details such as “watery stool” on the request so that we can decide to look for other enteric pathogens that are not routinely tested for.
This is an inappropriate test for hospital acquired (>3 days following admission) diarrhoea – please consider testing for Clostridium difficile and/or norovirus.
If other tests are required please order and send individual samples as these may be processed in different departments including virology (norovirus) and biochemistry (FOB).

Clinical details: 
acute gastroenteritis, dysentery, seafood consumption,
Synonyms or keywords: 
Stool PCR
Sample type and Volume required: 
5 ml or equivalent portion of faeces in a sterile Universal container or blue top containers with a scoop forming part of the lid.
Please notify the laboratory if unusual pathogens suspected (eg Yersinia or Vibrio cholerae).
Turnaround time: 
1 - 2 days for PCR result 2 - 3 days for culture
Special sample instructions: 

Please provide relevant clinical information including foreign travel to named countries

Storage and transport: 
Place labelled sample in a sealed sample bag and send to Central Specimen Reception (CSR). Samples should be refrigerated if transport to the laboratory is delayed.
Infection Sciences Department at St Thomas' Hospital
020 7188 8008
St Thomas' Hospital
North Wing - 5th Floor
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7EH
Core opening hours: Monday-Friday 0900-1730

For clinical advice or interpretation of results, please contact the laboratory in the first instance.

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Last updated: 27/11/2017