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.