Optimization and Evaluation of Flocked Swab Transport Systems for the Identification of Enteric Pathogens
The objective of this Botswana-based collaboration led by David Goldfarb was to design and evaluate a user-friendly flocked-swab specimen collection system for the identification of enteric infections. This would have immediate impact in much of the world where diarrheal disease remains deadly and for the large part undiagnosed. Using an inexpensive innovation in specimen collection, the team diagnosed previously unrecognized pathogens that had caused the severe diarrhoea of over one-third of children in a group of southern African hospitals. McMaster University researchers designed and tested in Botswana a specially-designed "flocked swab" for collecting samples from children admitted to hospitals with severe diarrhoeal disease. The flocked rectal swab eliminates the wait and biohazard involved in obtaining and transporting a bulk stool (faeces) sample from an infant or child. This efficiency enabled implementation of a randomized clinical trial evaluating same-day diagnosis and treatment for a broad number of pathogens – the first study of its kind anywhere.