Obtain the following laboratory studies in cases of suspected food poisoning:
Perform Gram staining and Loeffler methylene blue staining of the stool for white blood cells (WBCs) to help differentiate invasive disease from noninvasive disease.
Perform microscopic examination of the stool for ova and parasites.
Bacterial culture for enteric pathogens, such as Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter organisms, becomes mandatory if a stool sample shows positive results for WBCs or blood or if patients have fever or symptoms persisting for longer than 3-4 days.
Perform blood culture if the patient is notably febrile.
Perform complete blood count with differential, serum electrolyte assessment, and blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels to help assess the inflammatory response and the degree of dehydration.
Assay for Clostridium difficile to help rule out antibiotic-associated diarrhea in patients receiving antibiotics or in those with a history of recent antibiotic use.
For more on the workup of food poisoning, read here.
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Any views expressed above are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of WebMD or Medscape.
Cite this: Richard H. Sinert. Fast Five Quiz: This Thanksgiving, Are You Prepared to Confront Food Poisoning? - Medscape - Nov 23, 2015.