The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Stool Samples

When sending stool samples a full travel history and clinical details must be included on request or some pathogens may be missed. If suspected E coli 0157, Shigella dysenteriae or typhoid or details of HUS, PUO or fever following foreign travel mark clearly as Danger of Infection.

For ova, cyst and parasite (OCP) testing please note that administration of barium, oil, magnesium or crystalline compounds can lead to unsatisfactory results. Please delay specimen collection for at least 5 days after administration of such agents.

Rotavirus testing by enzyme immunoassay (EIA) will automatically be carried out on all samples submitted on patient’s under 5 years of age.

Cryptosporidium and Giardia testing by EIA will automatically be carried out on patients with a travel history, appropriate clinical details and liquid stool samples.

Specimen types you should send:

Brown Top Universal with Spoon

The specimen of choice is diarrheal stool. (Please note that some patients may have taken anti-diarrheal treatments).

A rectal swab is only recommended and permissible for infants.

A single specimen of diarrheal stool should suffice to find any routinely screened for bacterial pathogen, including Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter and E.coli species

How to Collect the Sample

Faecal material is placed into the depicted container with the aid of the plastic spoon. Enough sample to fill one third of the pot should be provided. Ensure lid is secure.


If the specimen is not transported immediately for bacterial culture refrigerate. Shigella species may not survive pH changes that occur in stool samples if not sent without delay.

Please note that stool samples taken to demonstrate trophozoites of Entamoeba histolytica - for diagnosis of amoebic dysentery - must reach the laboratory within 30mins. No time limit for ova, cysts and non-trophozoite forms of parasites