Parasitological examination of faeces includes the detection and identification of parasitic protozoa and eggs and larvae of parasitic helminths. This test is repeated in 3 separate faecal samples.
Many different parasites can be found in faecal samples. These parasites can be protozoa (single cell eukaryotic microorganisms) and helminths (worms).
The most common symptoms of a parasitic intestinal infection are prolonged diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, stool mucus, abdominal pain and nausea. These symptoms usually occur days to weeks after exposure to the parasites, and some patients may also develop headaches and fever. Infection can often be asymptomatic, while at other times the symptoms can be mild, such as diarrhea and eating disorders, up to very severe such as intestinal obstruction and rarely, death.
The most common intestinal parasites in faecal specimens are Giardia intestinalis (also known as Giardia duodenalis or Giardia lamblia) and Cryptosporidium. Both parasites can cause diarrhea. The most reliable tests for detecting these two common parasites are the specific tests for the corresponding antigen in the faeces by immunoenzymatic or immunochromatographic methods.
This test involves collecting and examining 3 different and independent samples. Stools are collected at different times on different days, because the parasites may not be in the stool continuously for various reasons. Multiple samples increase the likelihood of parasites being detected.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.