Test Catalog

Test ID: SALMC    
Salmonella Culture, Feces

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Determining whether Salmonella species may be the cause of diarrhea


Reflexive testing for Salmonella species from nucleic acid amplification test-positive feces


This tests is generally not useful for patients hospitalized more than 3 days because the yield from specimens from these patients is very low, as is the likelihood of identifying a pathogen that has not been detected previously.

Testing Algorithm Delineates situations when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

When this test is ordered, the reflex tests may be performed and charged separately.


See Laboratory Testing for Infectious Causes of Diarrhea in Special Instructions.

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Diarrhea may be caused by a number of agents, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and chemicals; these agents may result in similar symptoms. A thorough patient history covering symptoms, severity and duration of illness, age, travel history, food consumption, history of recent antibiotic use, and illnesses in the family or other contacts will help the healthcare provider determine the appropriate testing to be performed.


Salmonella species cause disease in 2 broad categories-gastroenteritis, and typhoid (or paratyphoid) fever (eg, Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Typhi, Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Paratyphi A, Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Paratyphi B [tartrate negative], and Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Paratyphi C). In the United States, gastroenteritis is most common clinical presentation.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

No growth of pathogen

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

The growth of Salmonella species identifies a potential cause of diarrhea. 

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

The yield of Salmonella species is reduced when specimens are delayed in transit to the laboratory (>2 hours from collection for unpreserved specimens).


Check local public health requirements, which may require submission of isolates to a public health laboratory.


Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovars Paratyphi B and Paratyphi C, which may cause paratyphoid fever, are not specifically tested for at Mayo Clinic Laboratories; they will be reported as Salmonella species not serovars Typhi/Paratyphi A.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Pillai DR: Fecal culture for Campylobacter and related organisms. In Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook, Fourth edition. Washington, DC, ASM Press, 2016, Section 3.8.2

2. DuPont HL: Persistent diarrhea: A clinical review. JAMA 2016;315(24):2712-2723 doi:10.1001/jama.2016.7833

3. American Public Health Association. Salmonellosis. In Control of Communicable Diseases Manual. Nineteenth edition. Edited by DL Heymann. Washington, DC. American Public Health Association, 2008

4. Johnson LR, Gould LH, Dunn JR, et al: Salmonella infections associated with international travel: A Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) study. Foodborne Pathog Dis 2011;8(9):1031-1037

Special Instructions Library of PDFs including pertinent information and forms related to the test