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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2014 Aug;20(8):O460-7. doi: 10.1111/1469-0691.12476. Epub 2014 Jan 10.

Multiplex molecular testing for management of infectious gastroenteritis in a hospital setting: a comparative diagnostic and clinical utility study.

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GSTS Pathology LLP, London, UK.


Laboratory diagnosis and clinical management of inpatients with diarrhoea is complex and time consuming. Tests are often requested sequentially and undertaken in different laboratories. This causes prolonged unnecessary presumptive isolation of patients, because most cases are non-infectious. A molecular multiplex test (Luminex(®) Gastrointestinal Pathogen Panel (GPP)) was compared with conventional testing over 8 months to determine diagnostic accuracy, turnaround times, laboratory costs, use of isolation facilities and user acceptability. A total of 262 (12%) patients had a pathogen detected by conventional methods compared with 483 (22.1%) by GPP. Most additional cases were detected in patients developing symptoms in the first 4 days of admission. Additional cases were detected because of presumed improved diagnostic sensitivity but also because clinicians had not requested the correct pathogen. Turnaround time (41.8 h) was faster than bacterial culture (66.5 h) and parasite investigation (66.5 h) but slower than conventional testing for Clostridium difficile (17.3 h) and viruses (27 h). The test could allow simplified requesting by clinicians and a consolidated laboratory workflow, reducing the overall number of specimens received by the laboratory. A total of 154 isolation days were saved at an estimated cost of £30 800. Consumables and labour were estimated at £150 641 compared with £63 431 for conventional testing. Multiplex molecular testing using a panel of targets allowed enhanced detection and a consolidated laboratory workflow. This is likely to be of greater benefit to cases that present within the first 4 days of hospital admission.


Diagnostic accuracy; gastroenteritis; infection control; molecular diagnostics

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