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Enteric culture
Specimen Type:


Urine (for Salmonella Typhi only)


​Stool Culture Transport Medium (Cary-Blair Medium) from the Faeces Enteric Bacteriology Kit or Enteric Outbreak Kit.

Sterile container without preservative for urine specimen only.

Collection information:

​To order Collection Kits or other PHOL Supplies complete the Requisition for Containers and Supplies. The form should be faxed to Public Health Ontario Laboratory, Toronto at 416-235-5753 or your local PHOL.​

Minimum volume required:

​Collect a minimum of 2.0 ml of liquid faeces or add faeces up to the fill line indicated. DO NOT overfill.

Collect a minimum of 2.0 ml of midstream urine specimen.


​Complete all fields of the General Test Requisition Form.


The stool specimen must be received in the laboratory and processed within 5 days of collection. Specimens received after 5 days of collection will not be tested. Only one sample per patient is tested per collection date.

The urine specimen must be received and processed within 24 hours of collection. Specimens received after 24 hours of collection will not be tested. Only one sample per patient is tested per collection date.

Preparation prior to transport:

​Place specimen container in a biohazard bag and seal. Specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and shipped to PHOL on ice packs.

Special Instructions:

​Follow the instructions found in the Faeces Enteric Bacteriology Kit or Enteric Outbreak Kit​ Instruction Sheet.

​Specimens are tested by conventional bacterial culture.
Bacterial identification includes biotyping and serotyping procedures.

Antimicrobial susceptibility testing is routinely performed on Salmonella Typhi, Salmonella Paratyphi, Shigella, and Vibrio.

​Routine stool culture includes Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, pathogenic Yersinia and E. coli O157:H7. Culture for Vibrio is available upon request. Indicate if a specific pathogen is suspected as well as travel/ exposure history.

Aeromonas enteric culture from stool should only be performed when a history of travel or consumption of seafood is provided, when specifically requested by the ordering physician or as part of an investigation of an outbreak where standard procedures have failed to find the cause.

Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (EIA) is routinely performed on all food-borne infections.

Screening for non-O157 shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC) is available upon request. The Public Health Ontario Laboratory will test for non-O157 STEC on request from a patient who

  • ​presents with acute bloody diarrhea or has hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) AND 
  • is negative for other enteric pathogens including E. coli O157.  

The laboratory should be contacted prior to stool sample submission by contacting the PHOL Customer Service Centre (contact information below).

For outbreaks, contact your local Health Unit, your local Public Health Laboratory or the Public Health Ontario, Public Health Laboratory Customer Service at 416-235-6555 or 1-877-604-4567.

​Enteric culture testing is performed Monday to Friday.

TAT is up to 6 days.

Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

Specimens that are positive for Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, pathogenic Yersinia, E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC) and Vibrio cholera are reported to the Medical Officer of Health as per the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Uncontrolled print copy. Valid only on day of Print: [date]
Page updated on [date/time] 2017-01-26 1:13 PM
© , Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion