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Infectious diseases are spread and caused by a variety of macroscopic vectors. A wide array of macroscopic parasites (worms and ectoparasites) and parasite mimics or artifacts may be submitted for examination and identification. It is important to promptly and accurately identify these specimens so that the ordering physician can appropriately treat and counsel the patient.
Gross identification of parasites (eg, worms) and arthropods (eg, ticks, bed bugs, lice, mites)
Detecting or eliminating the suspicion of parasitic infection by identifying suspect material passed in stool or found on the body
Diagnosing delusional parasitosis
Identifying ticks, including Ixodes (carrier of Lyme disease)
A descriptive report is provided identifying the worm or arthropod. Worms and hard ticks are identified to the species level when possible, while other parasitic arthropods are identified to the genus level. Arthropods that do not cause human disease and parasite mimics resembling worms are reported as nonhuman parasites.
This test identifies a tick's species, age, sex, and level of engorgement. It does not include analysis of ticks for the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme disease. Testing ticks for potential pathogens such as B burgdorferi, is not recommended since it does not indicate that the organism had been passed to the host during feeding.
A descriptive report is provided.
Mathison BA, Pritt BS: Laboratory Identification of Arthropod Ectoparasites. Clin Microbiol Rev 2014;27(1):48-67