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About the test
What is this test done for?
To evaluate digestive tract infection via bacteria present in stools
Why is it Done?
  • Finding out the causative organism for diarrhea or dysentery
  • Deciding the medicine that will specifically kill the causative bacteria to cure the infection
  • Aiding in diagnosis of
    • Food poisoning
    • Colitis
    • Cholera
    • Typhoid
When should it be performed?

This test is performed when a patient has

  • Symptoms of diarrhea
    • Loose watery stools
    • Increased bowel frequency
    • Abdominal cramps
    • Abdominal bloating
    • Nausea
    • Fever
    • Dehydration
  • Symptoms of dysentery
    • Loose watery stools
    • Stools mixed with blood
    • Mucus in stool
    • Severe abdominal cramps
    • Fever
    • Dehydration
    • Loss of appetite
How is it done

An early morning stool sample is collected in a clean sterile container. Before collecting the sample you must urinate, so that you don’t urinate in the container. Collect your stool in the container, by wearing gloves while collecting the sample.


The test result is normal, if no growth is seen in 48 hours. It means absence of infection.

The test result is abnormal, if growth of bacteria is seen. It means-

  • Food poisoning
  • Colitis
  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Shigellosis
  • Amoebiasis

The culture is then studied under a microscope to identify the exact organism causing the infection. After that this culture growth is exposed to various antibiotics and zone of inhibition is noted. A complete zone of inhibition with certain specific antibiotic suggests that the antibiotic used is the drug of choice for the ongoing infection.

Other Tests
  • CBC
    • Very high WBC (white blood cells) in a CBC  suggests infection
  • Stool Routine
    • Presence of RBC, pus cells, mucus and any parasite or worm or protozoa indicate infection
    • Positive test results means presence of typhoid infection
  • Blood Culture
    • Growth of bacteria indicates infection that has spread to the blood
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