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Stool consistency: no hard and fast rules for the diagnosis of VTEC infection
  1. Shirley Ross1,2,
  2. Isabelle O'Callaghan2,
  3. Rachel Jermy2,
  4. Liam Blake2,
  5. Daniel Corcoran2,
  6. Roy D Sleator1,
  7. Brigid Lucey1
  1. 1Department of Biological Sciences, Cork Institute of Technology, Bishopstown, Cork, Ireland
  2. 2Department of Clinical Microbiology, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Roy D Sleator, Department of Biological Sciences, Cork Institute of Technology, Bishopstown, Cork, Ireland, T12 P928; Roy.sleator{at}

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Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC) is a serious gastrointestinal pathogen associated with significant morbidity and mortality in developed countries1 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the ideal stool sample for the detection of VTEC is community-acquired diarrhoeal specimens.2 However, we consider that the processing of samples as high or low risk according to stool consistency is likely to result in underdiagnosis and under-reporting of VTEC infection. Apart from stool consistency, underdiagnosis may also be attributable to the methods for the detection of VTEC employed by diagnostic laboratories, often being biased in favour of the O157 serotype, particularly where the method of detection is culture based, thus resulting in the under-reporting of non-O157 VTEC serotypes. In order to capture all …

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  • Funding SR's research was funded by the Irish Research Council (RS/2012/122).

  • Twitter Follow Roy Sleator at @RoySleator

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Cork University Hospital Ethics Review Board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.