Stool Diagnostics

Most gastrointestinal infections are self-limited and resolve within a few days. However, in newborns/infants, immunocompromized patients or elderly populations, gastrointestinal infections can be potentially serious. Diagnosis of gastrointestinal infections is largely performed through laboratory tests used for culture or antigen detection from stool specimens.
Clostridium difficile is a gram positive, spore-forming bacillus that produces two exotoxins: toxin A and toxin B. These toxins are responsible for the diarrhea and inflammation seen in infected patients. Toxin A is an enterotoxin that can cause extensive mucosal damage and is an activator of mast cells and neutrophils, which trigger inflammatory mediators. Toxin B is a cytotoxin that is known to cause morphological changes in tissue culture cells.
Helicobacter pylori is a spiral shaped bacterium, living in the mucus of the human digestive tract and is present in half of the world population. Strongly associated with peptic ulcer disease and chronic active gastritis, H. pylori is a major risk factor for gastric adenocarcinoma.
Diagnosis of infection can be achieved by non-invasive methods, such as detection of H. pylori antigens in stool sample. The H. pylori stool antigen assay provides a simple alternative to the urea breath test and is appropriate for diagnosis and follow-up of infection.