Cholera Diagnosis and Testing

Cholera is confirmed through culture of a stool specimen or rectal swab.

Cary Blair media is ideal for transport, and the selective thiosulfate–citrate–bile salts agar (TCBS) is ideal for isolation and identification. Reagents for serogrouping Vibrio cholerae isolates are available in all state health department laboratories in the U.S. Commercially available rapid test kits are useful in epidemic settings but do not yield an isolate for antimicrobial susceptibility testing and subtyping, and should not be used for routine diagnosis.


More detailed information is available for laboratory diagnosis of Vibrio cholerae in resource poor areas and for Reference Laboratories.

Cholera is a U.S. nationally reportable disease. All isolates should be sent to CDC via state health department laboratories for cholera toxin-testing and subtyping.

Laboratory Testing for Cholera

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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