Bacteria or Virus?


So explain to me how you all go about determining, when a person with gastrointestinal issues presents, whether or not you might be dealing with salmonella, E. coli, Listeria or another bacteria, and when you might suspect it to be a viral case, as in the stomach virus like norovirus ... I guess we need to put in parasitic causes too, such as Cyclospora, but what is the first action on the end of those on the front line of America's fight giant food borne illness ... When is a stool culture required?


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That's a loaded question. My first concern is to determine if we need to institute transmission-based precautions to prevent spread of disease. We may not have the "bug" isolated and know what we are treating for awhile. The nurse's role is not to medically diagnose, or order the stool culture--though we can anticipate it. A culture is a tool to assist with a medical diagnosis and treatment options.