Evaluation of the New FecalSwab to Maintain Stability of Stool Samples Submitted for Molecular Tests

Gastrointestinal disease accounts for significant morbidity and mortality worldwide and may be caused by a variety of agents including bacterial, viral and parasitic pathogens. Rapid molecular multiplex testing has recently been introduced into enteric diagnostics and is revolutionizing patient diagnosis and treatment for diarrheal diseases. Maintaining organism viability (especially bacteria) is still important for further antimicrobial susceptibility testing, when pertinent. However, the inability to obtain a stool specimen at the time of the patient visit can delay the diagnostic process and contribute to inappropriate treatment. 

The new FecalSwab (Copan Diagnostics, Murrieta, CA) is a convenient system for collecting rectal swab samples or for transporting fecal specimens in small instrument-ready tubes making it easier to transport the specimen to the laboratory. The FecalSwab comes in a tube with 2mL of modified Cary-Blair medium and a flocked swab. While the FecalSwab is FDA-cleared for transport and culture of GI pathogens, it is not FDA-cleared for use with any molecular gastrointestinal (GI) assays. The objective of this study was to evaluate the FecalSwab for the simultaneous qualitative detection and identification of 22 GI pathogens, using the FilmArray GI Panel (Biofire Diagnostics, Salt Lake City, UT) on the FilmArray System. 

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