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Value of routine stool cultures in hospitalized patients with diarrhea

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In a prospective study conducted over a six-month period, the relative yield of 721 routine cultures of stool from adult inpatients as a function of the time after hospital admission was assessed.Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shigella orYersinia spp. were recovered from 10.9 % (41/377) of patients within three days of hospitalization and from only 1.5 % (5/344) after three days. However, a review of these patients' charts did not suggest nosocomial transmission but rather a delay in stool collection or asymptomatic carriage.Clostridium difficile was isolated with a high frequency in patients both within and after three days of hospitalization (10.3 % and 10.2 %, respectively). Thus, stool specimens from adults hospitalized for more than three days should not be cultured except forClostridium difficile unless there are plausible clinical or epidemiological reasons to do so.

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Barbut, F., Leluan, P., Antoniotti, G. et al. Value of routine stool cultures in hospitalized patients with diarrhea. Eur. J. Clin. Microbiol. Infect. Dis. 14, 346–349 (1995).

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