Study designs of evaluations included in the review
All study designs reporting original data were eligible for inclusion. Technical articles which contained no clinical information were excluded. Studies where diagnostic tests were performed without medical supervision were also excluded.
Specific interventions included in the review
Articles including information on clinical data and/or faecal screening tests (faecal leukocytes, faecal occult blood, faecal lactoferrin), assessed individually or in combination, were eligible for inclusion.
Reference standard test against which the new test was compared
The included studies were required to use stool culture in all patients as the reference standard. Diarrhoea was considered inflammatory if the stool culture was positive for Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, enteroinvasive E. coli, enteropathogenic E. coli, or cytotoxigenic C. difficile.
Participants included in the review
Only articles relating to acute infectious diarrhoea in humans were eligible for inclusion.
Outcomes assessed in the review
The included articles were required to report sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values, or to provide sufficient data for the construction of a 2x2 contingency table.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
All studies were reviewed independently by two reviewers who were not co-authors of the studies, using defined inclusion criteria. A final decision was reached by consensus.