- 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.
- Transfer specimen into a clean, dry container or the appropriate preservative.
- 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:
- A swab of rectal mucus, or
- 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.