Client Notification of CDC’s Latest Shiga-toxin Recommendation


With greater frequency of headlines such as the above, and increasing outbreaks and deaths/hospitalizations due to Shiga-Toxin producing Escherichia coli,(STEC) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reiterated and reinforced its 2006 recommendation of routinely testing for these organisms, not only from bloody diarrhea cases, but from “All stool specimens from patients with acute onset of community-acquired diarrhea” in order to prevent fatal complications.

According to CDC, “Evidence indicates that STEC might be detected as frequently as other bacterial pathogens.” Also, “Many infections are missed with selective STEC testing strategies (e.g. testing only specimens from children, testing only during summer months, or testing only stools with white blood cells or blood).” Also, testing only for E. coli strain0157:H7 may not be adequate, because “Non-0157 STEC bacteria also are important causes of diarrheal illness in the United States”.

“Stools should be tested as early as possible in the course of illness; bacteria might be difficult or impossible to detect in the stool after 1 week of illness, and the Shiga-toxin genes might be lost by the bacteria”. These strongest recommendations from CDC has prompted Doctors Laboratory to issue this special report for the benefit of its clients, and to remind them what testing is available.

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