Evaluation of Anatomically Designed Flocked Rectal Swabs for Molecular Detection of Enteric Pathogens in Children Admitted to Hospital with Severe Gastroenteritis in Botswana
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Two-hundred eighty matched bulk stool and anatomically designed flocked rectal swab samples were collected from children admitted to the hospital with acute diarrhea in Botswana. Their parents were asked about the acceptability of the swab collection method compared with bulk stool sampling. All samples underwent identical testing with a validated 15-target (9 bacterial, 3 viral, and 3 parasite) commercial multiplex PCR assay. The flocked swabs had a 12% higher yield for bacterial pathogen targets (241 versus 212; P = 0.003) compared with that of stool samples, as well as similar yields for viral targets (110 versus 113; P = 0.701) and parasite targets (59 versus 65; P = 0.345). One hundred sixty-four of the flocked swab-stool pairs were also tested with separate laboratory-developed bacterial and viral multiplex assays, and the flocked rectal swabs had a performance that was similar to that seen with commercial assay testing. Almost all parents/guardians found the swabs acceptable. Flocked rectal swabs significantly facilitate the molecular diagnosis of diarrheal disease in children.
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