Introduction Acute gastroenteritis (AGE) remains, throughout Europe, a public health issue. Under the age of 5, some 20 to 30% of bacterial microorganisms are identified. However, cost-effectiveness of routine stool cultures yielding only 2% results preclude routine stool culturing.
Objective Evaluation of the value of stool culture of children with AGE.
Methods Retrospective data collection from clinical records of patients less than 18 years old submitted to stool cultures over a one year period.
Results Out of 322 stool culture, 56.8% fulfilled the accepted ESPGHAN criteria and 74.8% had at least 1 clinical predictor of positivity (fever, blood or mucus stools, > 10 bowel actions/24 h, abdominal pain, travelling to highly epidemic countries). There were 121 positive cultures positive, 79.3% in patients obeying the defined criteria and 91.7% with clinical predictors of positivity. Campylobacter was the most frequently identified agent (68.6%), followed by Salmonella. Campylobacter decreased within an increasing age whilst Salmonella showed an inverse pattern. Campylobacter was the most frequently identified agent throughout all seasons of the year, followed by Salmonella, except in the winter when Yersinia took the second place.
Discussion Sticking to accepted criteria for stool collection and/or to defined clinical features, increasing the yield of stool cultures.