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Laboratory Services

The Parasitology Laboratory identifies various types of blood-borne, intestinal and skin parasites via microscopic analysis and/or molecular detection.

Testing Menu

Microscopic Identification: Parasites in stool, tissue or other body fluid

Molecular Detection Tests (CLEP Certified) and Preferred Sample Type: 

  • Babesia microti: whole blood
  • Cryptosporidium hominis/parvum*: stool (unpreserved or in ethanol-based preservative)
  • Cyclospora cayetanensis*: stool (unpreserved or in ethanol-based preservative)
  • Entamoeba histolytica*: stool (unpreserved or in ethanol-based preservative)
  • Entamoeba dispar*: stool (unpreserved or in ethanol-based preservative)
  • Leishmania species: whole blood
  • Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae: whole blood
  • Trypanosoma cruzi: whole blood
  • Trypanosoma brucei: whole blood

*Molecular detection is performed on samples with a negative microscopy result, or if specifically requested.

Culture Detection: Leishmania

Specialized Molecular Detection Tests and Preferred Sample Type (NPL form needed):
 
  • Cryptosporidium species: stool
  • Entamoeba histolytica/dispar: urine, liver aspirate, whole blood
  • Free Living Amoeba: misc.
  • Giardia: stool
  • Leishmania: skin punch/skin scrape (see below for instructions)
  • Microsporidia species: stool, urine, corneal scrape 
  • Various Helminths: misc.
  • Plasmodium falciparum drug resistance/pyrosequencing: whole blood 

Note: This is not a complete list of all organisms accepted. More information can be found in the test catalog in the Remote Order application. If you would like to submit a sample but are not sure if the laboratory tests for it, please contact the Parasitology Laboratory by phone at (518) 474-4177.

CDC Sample Submission: Requests for parasitology testing at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention are submitted through the NYSDOH Parasitology Laboratory.

Reportable Diseases for Parasitology
Agent Disease What to Report Required to Submit Specimen?
Babesia species Babesiosis Positive by any method Yes – Submit EDTA preserved blood and a slide
Cryptosporidium species Cryptosporidiosis Positive by any method Yes – Submit unpreserved stool or stool in ethanol based fixatives such as Total-Fix® or EcoFix® (molecular)
Cyclospora cayetanensis Cyclosporiasis Positive by any method Yes – Submit stool unpreserved or stool in ethanol based fixatives such as Total-Fix® or EcoFix® (molecular)
Entamoeba histolytica/dispar Amebiasis Positive by any method Yes – Submit stool unpreserved or stool in ethanol based fixatives such as Total-Fix® or EcoFix® (molecular) or PVA (microscopy) 
Giardia intestinalis (formerly G. lamblia or duodenalis) Giardiasis Positive by any method No  
Plasmodium species Malaria Positive by any method Yes – Submit EDTA preserved blood and a slide
Trichinella species Trichinosis Positive by any method Yes – Submit biopsy in buffered solution such as PBS

Information on other organisms can be found in Communicable Disease Reporting Guidelines 2016

Specimen Collection and Submission Guidelines

The Parasitology Laboratory accepts many different samples for analysis. Please see the information below regarding preferred sample collection and submission criteria as well as sample shipping instructions and guidelines. If you have specific questions about collection/submission not addressed below, please contact the Parasitology Laboratory by phone (518) 474-4177.

Who can submit a specimen? All specimens must be submitted by a NYS CLEP-permitted laboratory or a licensed physician.

Supplies: For a Parasitology Shipping kit, contact the Wadsworth Center Order Desk at (518) 474-4175. An Infectious Diseases Requisition (IDR) Form must be included for each sample. A Non-permitted Laboratory (NPL) form must be completed for each specialized molecular detection test.

Specimen Sources

  • Stool: preferably submitted in ethanol based fixative such as Total-Fix® or EcoFix® or unpreserved (kept frozen)
  • Blood: EDTA preserved
  • Live/dead specimen (such as fly, larvae, or worm): fixed in ethanol
  • Leishmaniasis: Biopsy of lesion and/or needle aspirate (Specimen Collection Instructions for Leishmaniasis)
  • Scabies: Skin scraping instructions
  • Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF): in labeled vial, on ice or cold pack

Required Specimen Submission Information

If you have access to the Health Commerce System (HCS) and the Clinical Laboratory Information Management System (CLIMS), follow steps below:

  • Log onto the Health Commerce System (HCS)
  • Select 'CLIMS'
  • Under the desired heading, select 'Remote Order'
  • Click on the tab that indicates the type of sample you would like to submit: human, animal, environmental, etc.
  • Fill in the screens, ‘Place the Order’, print form and submit with specimen.

This method provides many advantages over paper submission including specimen tracking, notification when results become available, online access to results and access to testing catalog. Should you encounter difficulty, please access the Reference Guide in the Remote Order application or contact CLIMS.

Note: If you are from a licensed clinical laboratory with a valid PFI number or county or regional health department your HIN/HCS coordinator can grant you access to CLIMS (and create your HCS account if needed). For all other access, the Request for Access to the Wadsworth Center Laboratory Information Management System (CLIMS) form must be completed, signed and faxed to (518) 474-8140 or (518) 473-1326.

If you do not have access to HCS/CLIMS, complete this form, print and send with the specimen. If necessary, a Non-permitted Laboratory (NPL) form must be completed for each Non-CLEP certified test.

Where to send a sample

All mail, specimens and packages that are sent through the US Postal Service should be sent to:

David Axelrod Institute
Wadsworth Center
NYS Department of Health
P.O. Box 22002
Albany, NY 12201-2002

All deliveries sent via UPS, FedEx or other courier services should be sent to:

David Axelrod Institute
Wadsworth Center
NYS Department of Health
120 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208