Journal Article

Survey of Physician Diagnostic Practices for Patients with Acute Diarrhea: Clinical and Public Health Implications

Thomas W. Hennessy, Ruthanne Marcus, Valerie Deneen, Sudha Reddy, Duc Vugia, John Townes, Molly Bardsley, David Swerdlow and Frederick J. Angulo

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 38, issue Supplement_3, pages S203-S211
Published in print April 2004 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online April 2004 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/381588
Survey of Physician Diagnostic Practices for Patients with Acute Diarrhea: Clinical and Public Health Implications

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To understand physician practices regarding the diagnosis of acute diarrheal diseases, we conducted a survey, in 1996, of 2839 physicians in Connecticut, Georgia, Minnesota, Oregon, and California. Bacterial stool culture was requested for samples from the last patient seen for acute diarrhea by 784 (44%; 95% confidence interval, 42%–46%) of 1783 physicians. Physicians were more likely to request a culture for persons with acquired immune deficiency syndrome, bloody stools, travel to a developing country, diarrhea for >3 days, intravenous rehydration, or fever. Substantial geographic and specialty differences in culture-request practices were observed. Twenty-eight percent of physicians did not know whether stool culture included testing for Escherichia coli O157:H7; 40% did not know whether Yersinia or Vibrio species were included. These variabilities suggest a need for clinical diagnostic guidelines for diarrhea. Many physicians could benefit from education to improve their knowledge about tests included in routine stool examinations.

Journal Article.  5437 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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