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Microbial Gastroenteritis, Molecular Testing Panel 1

Bacterial gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by various bacteria. This condition results in diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever. It is a significant public health concern worldwide, particularly in areas with poor sanitation and food safety practices.

The Microbial Gastroenteritis, Molecular Testing Panel 1, includes PCR tests for Salmonella, Campylobacter sp., and Yersinia enterocolitica.

Salmonella is a common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis, often associated with contaminated food and water. Infections usually arise from consuming undercooked poultry, eggs, unpasteurized milk, or produce. Symptoms include non-bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Diagnosis is typically made through stool culture, though PCR tests are increasingly used for rapid detection. Treatment focuses on hydration, with antibiotics reserved for severe cases or patients with weakened immune systems.

Shigella bacteria cause shigellosis, a highly infectious disease that spreads via the fecal-oral route, through contaminated food and water, or direct contact with an infected person. It is prevalent in crowded settings with poor sanitation. Shigellosis is characterized by bloody diarrhea (dysentery), severe abdominal cramps, fever, and tenesmus (painful straining to pass stools). Stool culture is the primary diagnostic method, supported by PCR tests for rapid identification. Treatment involves rehydration and antibiotics like ciprofloxacin or azithromycin to shorten illness duration and reduce transmission.

Campylobacter jejuni is the most common species of Campylobacter that causes gastroenteritis. Infections typically occur through undercooked poultry, unpasteurized milk, contaminated water, or contact with infected animals. Symptoms include diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal pain and cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Diagnosis is primarily made through stool culture, though PCR assays provide quicker results. Treatment is mainly supportive, but severe cases may require antibiotics such as azithromycin or erythromycin.

Bacterial gastroenteritis is a widespread condition caused by various pathogens, each with distinct transmission modes, symptoms, and treatment protocols. Effective management hinges on accurate diagnosis through clinical evaluation and laboratory tests, supportive care, and, in some instances, specific antibiotic therapy. Preventive measures like food safety, hygiene, and judicious antibiotic use are critical to reducing the incidence and spread of these infections.

See also Microbial Gastroenteritis, Molecular Testing Panel 2

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