How to collect stool specimens

Kit contains two sterile containers:
Container NumberColour of CapTransport MediaTest Required
#1 White cap Empty vial Virology
#2 Green cap Red transport medium Bacteriology


  • Check the expiration date on the sterile containers. DO NOT use expired kits
  • If blood or mucus is present in the stool, take the sample from this part of the stool
  • Stool specimens that have been in contact with water in the toilet are unable to be accepted due to contamination

Collection Procedure:

*These first two steps are very important – if the label and/or form are missing information, illegible, or filled out incorrectly, the lab will not test the sample. 

  1. Label the sample containers with the child’s name, health card number (ID number on the label), and the date/time the stool sample is collected.     
  2. Complete all of the required sections of the “General Test Requisition” form
    • Patient information section
    • Public health unit outbreak number
    • Date stool sample collected
    • Date of symptom onset (date symptoms started)
  3. Collect the stool sample  
    • Adults and toilet trained children: Defecate into a clean container (i.e. a disposable plate). Stool that has been in contact with water is cannot be accepted. TIP: Urinate first if needed.
    • Children who are not toilet trained: Collect the stool sample from the soiled diaper or directly from the child's training "potty."   
    • Using the individual "scoop" attached to each of the caps, transfer stool into the corresponding sterile containers. Fill the white cap container first.  
    • Fill to the line indicated on the container. Do not overfill.   
    • Tighten the caps. Do not use excessive force to tighten the caps as the containers may crack and leak.  
    • Place the containers in the inner pocket of the plastic biohazard bag and seal the zip-lock bag.  
    • Place the General Test Requisition form in the small outer pocket of the plastic biohazard bag. Do not place the form in the inner pocket.         
    • Place the biohazard bag into the brown paper bag and refrigerate the sample(s) immediately after collection. Stool samples should be placed on the bottom shelf of a fridge and food should not be stored in the same fridge as the stool samples. A cooler with ice or an ice pack can be used if a separate fridge is not available. Do not freeze the sample.
    • Perform hand hygiene. If hands are visibly soiled, use soap and water.
    • Call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-2424, ext. 26325 for stool sample pick-up and delivery to the Public Health Laboratory located in Ottawa. Deadline for same day pick up is 3:30 pm. Inform your child care and early years operator that a stool sample was collected.  


Label each container with the client's name, Date of Birth and date the stool sample was collected

Samples that are incorrectly filled out, or packaged improperly will be discarded by Public Health Lab

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