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Specimen Guidelines

Stool, Feces

  1. Collect specimen in a clean bed pan or use plastic wrap placed between the toilet seat and the bowl. Do not submit feces contaminated with urine or toilet water.

  2. Transfer specimen into a clean, dry container or the appropriate preservative.

  3. Transport at ambient temperature within two hours of collection.

    • Stool samples collected on patients hospitalized longer than 3 days prior to collection are not acceptable for routine enteric culture.
    • Only loose or diarrheal stools are recommended for routine bacterial and C. difficile cultures. A limit of two samples are tested for C. difficile per week.
    • Place the specimen in an appropriate stool preservative or transport media, immediately after collection. For ova and parasite, use 10% formalin and modified PVA; for routine stool culture, use Cary-Blair transport media.
    • If a stool specimen is not available, the following are suitable alternatives for culture:
      1. A swab of rectal mucus, or
      2. A rectal swab inserted one inch into the anal canal (not acceptable for Rotavirus/ Adenovirus EIA).
    • For CMV colitis, culture of biopsy tissue is preferred.  Stool is frequently toxic to cultured cells and virus is infrequently recovered from this source.