The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday allowed marketing for the first test that can simultaneously detect 11 common viral, bacteria and parasitic causes of infectious gastroenteritis from a single patient sample, according to a statement issued by the agency. FDA touted this new development by noting the pervasiveness of infectious gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by certain viruses, bacteria, or parasites. The test could make testing and diagnosing more rapid for physicians. Common symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, which can be more severe in infants, the elderly and people with suppressed immune systems. Gastroenteritis can be spread easily through person-to-person contact and contaminated food, water and surfaces. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,  between 1999 and 2007 gastroenteritis-associated deaths in the United States increased from nearly 7,000 to more than 17,000 per year. Norovirus and Clostridium difficile accounted for two-thirds of the deaths. The xTAG Gastrointestinal Pathogen Panel (GPP), a multiplexed nucleic acid test made by Luminex, Inc., of Austin, Texas, detects the following causes of gastroenteritis: Bacteria – Campylobacter – Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) toxin A/B – Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157 – Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) LT/ST – Salmonella – Shigella – Shiga‐like Toxin producing E. coli (STEC) stx 1/stx 2 Virus – Norovirus – Rotavirus A Parasite – Cryptosporidium – Giardia “Tests such as the xTag GPP that can detect viruses, bacteria, and parasites from one sample at the same time can help clinicians more quickly identify and treat what’s causing gastroenteritis,” said Alberto Gutierrez, Ph.D., director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiology at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “The test could also allow clinicians and public health professionals to more quickly identify and investigate the source of potential gastroenteritis outbreaks.” According to FDA’s release: “The agency reviewed data for the xTag GPP through the de novo classification process, a regulatory pathway for medical devices that are generally low- to moderate-risk but are not comparable to an already legally marketed device.” “The manufacturer demonstrated the performance of the xTAG GPP by collecting samples from 1,407 patients with suspected infectious gastroenteritis and comparing the xTAG GPP results to individual tests that are known to separately and reliably detect the 11 viruses, bacteria, or parasites associated with the xTAG GPP. The manufacturer also ran the test on 203 samples from patients with previously confirmed infectious gastroenteritis, and 313 additional specimens from pediatric patients with suspected infectious gastroenteritis. Results were comparable to the individual tests. Due to the risk of false positives, all positive results from the xTAG GPP need to be confirmed by additional testing.”