Detection of Campylobacter species in faecal samples by direct Gram stain microscopy

Pathology. 2004 Aug;36(4):343-4. doi: 10.1080/0031302042000224575.


Aims: To evaluate the Gram stain with carbol-fuchsin counterstain for the rapid detection of Campylobacter species in faecal samples.

Methods: In total, 842 consecutive diarrhoeic faecal samples were prospectively examined for Campylobacter species by Gram stain and culture.

Results: Campylobacter species were isolated from 84 faecal samples (all Campylobacter jejuni). Compared with culture, Gram stain microscopy had a sensitivity of 89%, specificity of 99.7%, positive predictive value of 97%, and negative predictive value of 99% for detecting Campylobacter species.

Conclusions: The direct Gram stain method can provide a presumptive result within 30 minutes of receipt of a faecal sample in the laboratory with relatively high sensitivity, and at low cost. Laboratories in areas where Campylobacter enteritis is common and/or with limited resources for Campylobacter culture should consider adopting this as a routine method.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Campylobacter
  • Campylobacter Infections / diagnosis*
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Gentian Violet*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Microscopy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenazines*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Gram's stain
  • Phenazines
  • Gentian Violet