What is it?

Stool pathogen testing is a diagnostic test that determines whether diarrhea is caused by pathogenic bacteria, parasites, or viruses.

Testing may be recommended in cases of possible infectious colitis. Symptoms may include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and blood or mucus in your loose stools.

If a person has a GI infection caused by a less common bacterium, parasite, or virus not included in the stool pathogen panel, it will not be detected. Additional tests may be required to help establish a diagnosis.

Benefits & Risks

The stool pathogen panel detects the genetic material of many common pathogens. It can identify co-infections (more than 1 microbe causing infection) and identify microbes that are often missed with traditional testing. Results of a GI pathogen panel may be available within a few hours, compared to a few days with some traditional testing.

There are no risks involved with stool pathogen testing. 

What to Expect

You will be provided with a sample collection kit and detailed instructions on how to collect a sample for testing. The stool sample should not be contaminated with urine or water. Once it has been collected, the stool should be taken to your provider’s office as soon as possible. If your provider ordered multiple tests, they may need to be delivered to other laboratories. You will receive instructions on how to collect and deliver your sample.

Gastro Health tests for 22 different organisms, which are mostly a variety of viruses, bacteria, and parasites that can cause infections of the digestive system. The panel also tests for the presence of multiple disease-causing microbes in a stool sample.

Additional testing may be done to perform susceptibility testing if required, or the cause of your symptoms has not yet been identified.