White Blood Cells (WBC) Stool Test
A WBC test or fecal leukocytes stain is ordered to assist in differential diagnosis of diarrheal disease and looks for white blood cells in stool.
White blood cells, also called leukocytes, play an important role in the immune system by helping the body defend against and fight infection. WBCs are normally not present in the stool, but can appear with inflammatory diarrhea, symptoms of which include numerous small, loose bowel movements; blood and/or mucus in the stool; severe abdominal cramping; and fever.
The presence of WBCs in the stool, known as fecal leukocytes, may indicate one of the following conditions, which can cause inflammatory diarrhea:
Infection caused by bacteria such as Shigella (shigellosis), Campylobacter (campylobacteriosis), Salmonella (salmonellosis), Yersinia enterocolitica (yersiniosis), or Clostridium difficile
Infection of the intestines caused by the parasite Entamoeba histolytica (amebiasis)
Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
It is rare for fecal leukocytes to appear in diarrhea caused by other parasites or viruses, so a negative test result does not rule out a potential problem. Furthermore, 10-15 percent of stool samples with an invasive bacterial pathogen present will test negative for fecal leukocytes.
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