Faeces culture



Gram stain of Campylobacter

  • Routine enteric bacteriology testing is performed on stool samples submitted from community and out-patient settings and on in-patients within the first 3 days of admission
  • Samples from in-patients collected more than 3 days after admission are generally only examined for Clostridium difficile toxin
  • Routine testing includes culture for Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella and E. coli O157
  • Testing for additional pathogens will be done based on clinical details
  • Stool samples on patients under the age of 7 years are routinely tested for Rotavirus
  • Please contact the laboratory before submitting samples from a suspected outbreak
  • See also:

Sample requirements

Stool container with spoon

Do not contaminate with urine

For liquid stools do not fill pot more than half full

Stool container with spoon

Required information

  • Current or recent antibiotic therapy
  • Date of onset, length of history
  • Food history if relevant - e.g. shellfish consumption
  • Travel history - state countries and dates of travel and return
  • Details of travel history is important for ensuring the safety of laboratory workers
  • Association with known cases
  • Please state if from a suspected outbreak and give the HP zone number if known
  • Please state if sample is for clearance purposes


Transport as soon as possible. If transport is delayed, refrigeration is preferable to storage at room temperature.

Turnaround time

2 - 5 days

If confirmation or further testing at a National Reference Centre is required this will extend turnaround times

Page last reviewed: 06/02/2015