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Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 1996 Mar;24(3):121-4.

Stool cultures for Shigella spp: improved specificity by using MacConkey agar with xylose.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


A total of 678 stool specimens were cultured on four different agars: on xylose-lysine-desoxycholate agar (XLD), MacConkey agar (Mac), MacConkey agar supplemented with xylose (Mac-X), and Hektoen enteric agar (HE). Isolation rates for shigellae were 77% on HE, 86% on Mac and Mac-X, and 91% on XLD. The specificities of the media were 61% for Mac, 75% for HE, and 78% for XLD and Mac-X. After overnight incubation, Mac-X is much easier to read than XLD, which requires incubation for at least 22 hours. Based on these results and also on the practical aspect that incubation for 22-21 hours does not fit well in our schedule, we now use Mac-X whenever shigellae need to be looked for (i.e. mainly patients with recent travel to tropical countries). As compared to our previous procedure the workload in the laboratory could be reduced by about 20%.

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