Skip to main content


Alias: N/A

Discipline: Clinical Microbiology

Test information: The detection and isolation of a range of parasites from a variety of clinical samples, excluding blood and corneal tissue scrapings.

Availability: Available locally during routine hours: 08:45 - 17:15.

Turnaround Time: 24 hours (Microscopy)

Specimen Type(s)
  • Bile;
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage;
  • Cerebrospinal fluid;
  • Faeces;
  • Pus;
  • Sputum;
  • Swab;
  • Tissue;
  • Urine;
Other Acceptable Specimen Type(s)
Specimen Container - Adult
  • Fecon 27mL Clear Polypropylene Container with spoon;
  • Red Top Dry Swab;
  • Sterile CE-marked Universal Container;
Specimen Container - Paediatric
  • Fecon 27mL Clear Polypropylene Container with spoon.;
  • Red Top Dry Swab;
  • Sterile CE-marked Universal Container;
  • Microscopy;
Part of a test profile?
Volume (min) of sample to be sent to laboratory
1 - 1.5g
Patient Preparation, Sample Handling and Transport
  • Ideally three faeces specimens collected over no more than a 10-day period. It is recommended that specimens are collected every other day.
  • All diagnostic faeces (excluding formed specimens) will undergo examination for Giardia and Cryptosporidium using a sensitive PCR. Reactive samples are confirmed by microscopy but if microscopy is negative samples are referred for PCR and an interim report is issued.
  • Examination for other parasites will only be performed if clinical details include one of the following criteria: travel to a foreign country, eosinophilia, weight loss / failure to thrive, HIV positive patient or contact with a known case.
  • If E. histolytica is suspected and the first three specimens are negative molecular testing should be requested.
  • Mid-day specimens of urine should be collected for the investigation of schistosomiasis in a non-boric acid container. Collection of the total urine passed between 1000h and 1400h will show the maximum concentration of eggs excreted. If the urine cannot be examined within an hour of collection, it is advisable to add 1mL of undiluted formalin to preserve any eggs.
  • Perianal specimens are best obtained in the morning before bathing or defecation. Three specimens should be taken on consecutive days to rule out threadworm infection. Red top cotton-wool swabs moistened in sterile saline should be used.
  • Samples for intestinal parasite examination should be fresh, unpreserved and should be transported to the laboratory without delay during normal working hours.
  • If transport is delayed store at 2-8 °C.
  • The sample must arrive in the laboratory within 48 hours of being taken.
  • Serological tests for parasitic infections are also available and are referred to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, London.
Maximum add on time
Units and Reference Ranges / Interpretation
UKAS number
UKAS accredited test?

If you have any queries about a test or results interpretation please contact us.

Last updated: 02-06-2023