Gastrointestinal infections: Edited by Nicholas J. Beeching and A. Clinton WhiteDefining the causes of diarrhea novel approachesOperario, Darwin J.; Houpt, Eric Author Information Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA Correspondence to Eric Houpt, Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, University of Virginia Health System, P.O. Box 801363, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USATel: +1 434 243 9326; fax: +1 434 924 0075; e-mail: [email protected] Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: October 2011 - Volume 24 - Issue 5 - p 464-471 doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e32834aa13a Buy Metrics Abstract Purpose of review Diarrheal disease causes substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide; however, defining the microbiologic causes are challenging due to the large number of potential enteropathogens that require testing, insensitivity of existing conventional methods, the frequent occurrence of mixed infections, and high rates of background carriage in many communities. Recent findings Here we review recent detection methods for enteropathogens with a particular focus on nucleic acid amplification assays. Summary Nucleic acid amplification assays with high sensitivity and throughput now allow screening for multiple enteropathogens in stool samples. Interpretation will be complicated by high rates of mixed infections and background carriage in many communities. Therefore, new detection techniques, including quantitative methods, will need to be utilized in conjunction with the clinical context and careful study design. These methods should yield new insights into the causes and epidemiology of diarrhea. © 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.