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Tanzan J Health Res. 2010 Jan;12(1):100-3.

Role of microscopic examination of stool specimens in the diagnosis of campylobacter infection from children with acute diarrhoea in Kampala, Uganda.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, Makerere University Medical School, Kampala, Uganda.


Campylobacter species are a frequent cause of enteritis and less often of extraintestinal infections in humans. The diagnosis of campylobacter infection depends mainly on culture which is difficult and expensive to be done as routine in most clinical microbiology laboratories in the developing countries. This study was conducted to determine the sensitivity and specificity of Gram-stain of the stool in diagnosis of campylobacter infection, using culture as the gold standard. A total of 226 stool specimens were obtained from children with acute diarrhoea, attending Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. Stool smears were made and conventional Gram stain done using 0.3% carbol-fuschin as counter stain for 5 minutes. Mucous part of the stool was cultured in Charcoal Ceferaperazone Deoxycholate Agar and blood contained selective media. A total of 21 stool samples (9.3%) were positive by culture and 17 (7.5%) by Gram stain. Sensitivity and specificity of Gram stain in the diagnosis of campylobacter infection was 76% and 99.5%, respectively with positive predictive value of 94.1%. A total of 127 (56.2%) had white blood cells (WBC) in stool and there was strong association between WBC in stool and the presence of campylobacter infection (P=0.001). Gram stain is a good alternative in diagnosis of campylobacter infection in place where facilities for culture are limited.

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