Although few gastrointestinal infections may require specific therapy, the quick and efficient detection of a causative agent of diarrhoea may limit unnecessary use of antimicrobials, reduce hospitalisation duration and also provide valuable information regarding epidemiology and infection control.

Traditionally the diagnosis of infective diarrhoea was made by stool culture, while microscopy enabled us to identify parasites such as Cryptosporidium sp., Giardia and the eggs of nematodes and trematodes. Lateral flow assays are also available to detect enteric viruses but these lack sensitivity and specificity.

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