Doctors in Southampton have developed a speedy test which can find the cause for diarrhoea within an hour - instead of the current wait of several days.
Researchers at University Hospital Southampton (UHS) believe that the new method will "revolutionise" management of patients with suspected gastroenteritis.
They also say it will remove guesswork around the need for antibiotic treatment or isolation in a single room
"When a patient presents with diarrhoea the onus is on healthcare professionals to quickly determine its cause so patients with infections can be isolated to prevent them from infecting others and because they may require specific antibiotic treatment.
"The GastroPOC trial has been running for two years and will conclude at the end of this winter. Researchers are able to analyse stool samples at the bedside using a portable device to process the result, which is known as a point of care test (POCT).