Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are associated with acute gastroenteritis worldwide, which induces a high economic burden on both healthcare and individuals. Culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDT) in frontline microbiology laboratories have been implemented in Alberta since 2019. The objectives of this study were to determine the association between gene detection and culture positivity over time using STEC microbiological clearance samples and also to establish the frequency of specimen submission. Both stx genes’ amplification by real-time PCR was performed with DNA extracted from stool samples using the easyMAG system. Stools were inoculated onto chromogenic agar for culture. An association between gene detection and culture positivity was found to be independent of which stx gene was present. CIDT can provide rapid reporting with less hands-on time and technical expertise. However, culture is still important for surveillance and early cluster detection. In addition, stool submissions could be reduced from daily to every 3–5 days until a sample is negative by culture.
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- Real-time PCR