Parasites

Test for Parasites:

For a long time parasites seemed to be a problem of the past or occasionally found in foreign countries. Recently, however, it is clear that parasites have made a come back. Certainly holidays in countries, where hygiene is not as sophisticated as here are contributing to a higher infection rate. People can infect themselves with parasites when eating contaminated meat or fish. Flies, for example, can carry worm eggs onto food. Protozoa, for example, can be found in salad which has been washed in contaminated water. Animal faeces can be another infection source.

How does the test work?
The laboratory uses a special concentration method to detect worm eggs and larva as well as cysts of protozoa in a single stool sample. This covers most relevant parasites. For limitations of this test, please see bottom of this page or/and download our information pdf Parasites which would be detected in a stool tes.pdfProtozoa cysts are very resistant, so that even after the postal transport this is a very reliable detection method. At the same time practitioners have to remind patients to have a look at their stool. How is its colour and consistency? Can they detect mucous or blood or can they even see little moving bits? Worm fragments can sometimes move and tape worms, for example, are easily visible because of their size.

Patient/Practitioner Benefit

  • A safe diagnosis for possibly very unspecific symptoms
  • Easy monitoring of therapy success

Clinical Applications
Infections with parasites can be very difficult to diagnose, as these infections can go without clear symptoms for years. Some patients, however, can have very severe symptoms. The test may be applicable for patients who present some of the following symptoms

  • persistent diarrhoea or alternating diarrhoea and constipation
  • attacks of sweating or feeling cold
  • fever
  • colic like pains
  • hunger attacks which alternate with times of no appetite
  • persistent cough
  • weight loss
  • anal itching
  • anaemia
  • symptoms following foreign travel

Sample Requirements
Single stool sample.

To download a leaflet on parasites as a pdf please click the link below:

Parasites which would be detected in a stool tes.pdf

Analysis procedure and limitations of the test

Our lab uses an elaborate procedure to concentrate and filter the stool and then a specialised biologist looks at each sample under the microscope. Actually it is not the parasite itself which is detected. That is not possible with all the dirt in the stool. The stool is filtered and then mixed with certain fluids so that the scientist can see cysts or eggs, which are microscopically small. They first survive almost anything and also fit through the filter pores unlike the rest of the stool.

Tapeworms, however, do not lay eggs into the intestine. They shed whole body parts containing eggs. We can only see them as little white particles in the stool, but not in this parasite test.

Round- or pinworms cannot be found in the stool either. Pinworms can be spotted in the anal area, especially at night when the worms lay their eggs outside the anus, not into the stool. A piece of cellatape is pressed against the skin around the anus, and removed. The tape needs to be stuck to a microscopic slide and then a specialist has to analyze the sample, which is a test different to ours.


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