Carissa Robertson, Microbiologist III
Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratories
6810 SE Dwight Street
Topeka, KS 66620
Telephone Number: 785-296-3718
The Parasitology section, specializing in intestinal parasite diagnostics, offers a variety of testing both in-house and through partnerships with CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases & Malaria and KSU’s Entomology Research and Extension. These tests include:
Ova and Parasite
We offer a two-vial collection kit for routine Ova and Parasite (O&P) exams, which can be ordered through our customer service department using the Kit Request Form. We will also accept specimens preserved in commercially available kits. Please refer to the Parasite Packaging Handout for specific shipping instructions. The O&P exam includes microscopic analysis of the sediment from the Formalin Ethyl-Acetate concentrate, and a permanently stained slide from the ZnPVA preserved specimen. ZnPVA specimens containing the morphologically identical Entamoeba histolytica (pathogenic) and E. dispar (non-pathogenic) can be referred to CDC for a species determination by PCR.
While Cryposporidium spp., Cyclospora, and Cystoisopora could potentially be detected during a routine O&P exam, if any of these organisms are suspected, additional, more sensitive testing will be done by special request. If Cyclospora and/or Cystoisopora are suspected, a Modified Acid Fast stain will be examined when requested on our requisition form. In addition, special testing requests for suspect Cryptosporidium spp. infections should be specified on our Universal Form by marking the “R/O Cryptosporidium” box and meet one of the following criteria: institution resident, immune suppressed, <5 years old, or watery diarrhea. These specimens will have direct fluorescence antibody (DFA) testing specific for Cryptosporidium performed in addition to the routine O&P exam. Additionally, if Microsporidia is suspected, this should be noted on the Universal Form, as these specimens will be referred to CDC for staining and exam.
Swube tube collection kits for pinworm exams are available to Health Departments by request. Please fax your requests to our customer service department using the Kit Request Form.
Suspect worms should be sent in normal saline or dilute 2-5% formalin.
If the specimen sent for suspect blood parasites includes a stained thin blood smear, blood parasite identification may be made through our partnership with CDC’s DPDx telediagnosis network or by referral of the specimen to CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases & Malaria. EDTA blood tubes and unstained blood smears will be forwarded directly to CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases & Malaria for staining and exam. If a determination for malaria or babesia cannot be made from the smear, CDC may opt to perform species-specific PCR.
Identification of parasitic insects and ecto-parasite of medical importance begins in-house, but also includes referrals to KSU’s Entomology Research and Extension as needed.
Currently, all serological testing of parasitic infections are forwarded by KHEL’s Virology/Serology Section, to CDC for testing. The Virology/Serology section is also currently handling the issuance of these reports.
We look forward to helping you with your parasite identification needs.