The Trouble with Traditional Testing
A large number of pathogens—bacterial, viral, and parasitic—can cause infectious gastroenteritis. Unfortunately, the symptoms these pathogens can cause are strikingly similar: diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping, possible vomiting, possible fever, among others. That makes it extremely difficult to know what’s causing the symptoms without diagnostic testing.
With the traditional approach, gastrointestinal testing becomes a guessing game. The clinician decides which pathogens to test for. When those tests come up negative, the clinician orders further testing for additional pathogens. This may involve multiple patient samples for stool culture, parasitology, immunoassays, traditional PCR, and other send-out tests.
This is all very labor intensive for the laboratory, and costs for serial testing can begin to add up. And in the end, the tests may not provide actionable results at all. Traditional testing has been found to offer a diagnostic yield somewhere between 6 to 18%.1-4