Evaluation of the FecalSwab for Stool Specimen Storage and Molecular Detection of Enteropathogens on the BD Max System Academic Article uri icon

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  • ABSTRACT The FecalSwab system (Copan Italia, Brescia, Italy) is a convenient alternative to bulk stool for the diagnosis of enteric pathogens. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for transport and culture of enteric bacterial pathogens, the FecalSwab has not been well assessed for its suitability with molecular platforms. In this study, we evaluated the FecalSwab as a specimen type for the BD Max system using the viral and bacterial enteric panels (BD Diagnostics, Baltimore, MD, USA). A total of 186 unpreserved stool specimens were collected and used to prepare matched bulk stool and FecalSwab samples. Performance was equivalent (P > 0.48) to bulk stool for all targets when 50 μl of FecalSwab specimen was loaded onto the BD Max assays. As stool specimens are often collected off-site from the clinical microbiology laboratory and require transport, we assessed the stability of stool specimens stored for up to 14 days at 4°C, 22°C, or 35°C to account for varying transportation conditions. Molecular detection for the majority of viral targets (excluding astrovirus) was unaffected (change in cycle threshold [ΔCT] ≤ 1) by sample storage temperature over the 2-week period; however, detection of enteric bacteria was variable if specimens were not refrigerated (22°C or 35°C). By demonstrating equivalent performance to matched bulk stool and maintaining molecular detection sensitivity when stored at 4°C, we suggest that the FecalSwab is a suitable specimen type for enteropathogen diagnostics on the BD Max system.


  • Richard-Greenblatt, Melissa
  • Rutherford, Candy
  • Luinstra, Kathy
  • Cárdenas, Ana María
  • Pang, Xiaoli Lilly
  • Jayaratne, Padman
  • Smieja, Marek

publication date

  • May 27, 2020