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Test Code M602 Parasites, Complete Microscopic Examination, Stool

Performing Laboratory

Barnes-Jewish Hospital Laboratory


If looking for Giardia lamblia or Cryptosporidium species, see #M606 Parasites, Screen for Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium species. This immunoassay screen is more sensitive than the complete microscopic exam for these 2 parasites. The complete microscopic exam is needed for those patients in whom the likelihood of a parasitic infection other than Giardia lamblia or Cryptosporidium species is higher.

Profile Information:

Concentration, direct smears, and identification

Trichrome stain

Immunoassay for Cryptosporidium species and Giardia lamblia

Specimen Requirements

Acceptable Specimens:Stool in Parasitology Transport Kit (1 vial 10% formalin, 1 vial polyvinyl alcohol fixative). Stool should be added to each vial to bring liquid level up to “Fill to Here” line; approximately 5 mL of stool for each vial.

Note: Stool specimen requested for #M606 Parasites, Screen for Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium species are saved in the Microbiology Laboratory for 7 days. If a complete microscopic exam is desired on this specimen, call 314-362-3898 to request complete microscopic exam.


Collection Procedure:

Using a Parasitology Transport Kit, collect stool as described in instructions provided with each kit. (Swab or specimen contaminated with urine or water is not acceptable.)

Note: 1. Do not collect stool if the patient has been:
A. On the following drugs or using these preparations for the preceding 7 to 10 days: aluminum-containing compounds, barium, bismuth, clindamycin, iron salts, kaolin drugs, magnesium, metronidazole, tetracycline, or trimethoprim/sulfisoxazole.
B. Using these preparations for the preceding 2 days: oil laxatives or enemas.
2. Collect 3 specimens over a 3 to 9 day period for outpatients (do not collect more than 1 per day) or 1 specimen per day for the first 3 days after admission for hospitalized patients. (Specimen collected more than 3 days after a patient is admitted is not acceptable, without consultation.) Virtually all parasite infections are acquired outside the hospital. Pool multiple specimens on same day and submit as 1.

3. Indicate “Complete Microscopic Ova and Parasite Exam” on request form.

4. If a specific parasite is suspected, note on request form.


Day(s) Test Set Up

Monday through Friday
Turnaround Time:
STAT: not available
Routine: results available within 24 hours for specimens received Monday through Thursday and on Monday for specimens received Friday through Sunday.

Reference Values


Literature Reference:

Garcia Lynne S. Diagnostic medical parasitology. 5th ed. Washington, DC: ASM Press; 2007;761-79.

Test Classification and CPT Coding

87177-O & P, direct smear, concentration and identification
87209-Smear, complex stain O & P

87328-Cryptosporidium antigen EIA

87329-Giardia antigen EIA

Additional Information

For BJH Laboratory Use Only

Minimum Volume:

Stool should be added to each vial to bring liquid level up to “Fill to Here” line; approximately 5 mL of stool for each vial.
Laboratory Processing Instructions:
Test performed in BJH Microbiology.

Specimen Transport Temperature