The European, multicentre, quarterly point-prevalence study of community-acquired diarrhoea (EUCODI) analysed stool samples received at ten participating clinical microbiology laboratories (Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, and the UK) in 2014. On four specified days, each local laboratory submitted samples from ≤20 consecutive patients to the Austrian Study Centre for further testing with the FilmArray GI Panel (BioFire Diagnostics, Salt Lake City, UT, USA). Of the 709 samples from as many patients received, 325 (45.8%) tested negative, 268 (37.8%) yielded only one organism, and 116 (16.4%) yielded multiple organisms. Positivity rates ranged from 41% (30 of 73 samples) in France to 74% (59 of 80 samples) in Romania. With the exception of Entamoeba histolytica and Vibrio cholerae, all of the 22 targeted pathogens were detected at least once. Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, Campylobacter species, toxigenic Clostridium difficile, enteroaggregative E. coli, norovirus and enterotoxigenic E. coli were the six most commonly detected pathogens. When tested according to local protocols, seven of 128 positive samples (5.5%) yielded multiple organisms. Overall, the FilmArray GI Panel detected at least one organism in 54.2% (384/709) of the samples, as compared with 18.1% (128/709) when testing was performed with conventional techniques locally. This underlines the considerable potential of multiplex PCR to improve routine stool diagnostics in community-acquired diarrhoea. Classic culture methods directed at the isolation of specific pathogens are increasingly becoming second-line tools, being deployed when rapid molecular tests give positive results. This optimizes the yield from stool examinations and dramatically improves the timeliness of diagnosis.
Keywords: Community-acquired; gastroenteritis; gastrointestinal pathogens; multiplex PCR detection; stool.
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