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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: EDTA-preserved whole blood
  • Blastocystis hominis: Stool (unpreserved or in PCR-compatible preservative)
  • Cryptosporidium hominis/parvum: Stool (unpreserved or in PCR-compatible preservative)
  • Cyclospora cayetanensis: Stool (unpreserved or in PCR-compatible preservative)
  • Entamoeba coli: Stool (unpreserved or in PCR-compatible preservative)
  • Entamoeba dispar: Stool (unpreserved or in PCR-compatible preservative)
  • Entamoeba hartmanni: Stool (unpreserved or in PCR-compatible preservative)
  • Entamoeba histolytica: Stool (unpreserved or in PCR-compatible preservative)
  • Enterocytozoon bieneusi: Stool (unpreserved or in PCR-compatible preservative)
  • Encephalitozoon cuniculi: Stool (unpreserved or in PCR-compatible preservative)
  • Encephalitozoon hellem: Stool (unpreserved or in PCR-compatible preservative)
  • Encephalitozoon intestinalis: Stool (unpreserved or in PCR-compatible preservative)
  • Giardia duodenalis: Stool (unpreserved or in PCR-compatible preservative)
  • Leishmania species: EDTA-preserved whole blood
  • Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae: EDTA-preserved whole blood
  • Plasmodium falciparum NGS for drug resistance: EDTA-preserved whole blood
  • Trypanosoma brucei: EDTA-preserved whole blood
  • Trypanosoma cruzi: EDTA-preserved whole blood

Culture Detection: Leishmania

Specialized Molecular Detection Tests and Preferred Sample Type (Non-permitted Laboratory Test Form needed):
 
  • Cryptosporidium species: stool
  • Entamoeba histolytica/dispar: urine, liver aspirate, whole blood
  • Free Living Amoeba: miscellaneous
  • Leishmania: bone marrow (visceral leishmaniasis) or needle aspirates/skin scrapings/biopsies from skin lesions (cutaneous leishmaniasis, see Specimen Collection Instructions for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis)
  • Various Helminths: miscellaneous

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 blood smear and EDTA-preserved whole blood

Cryptosporidium species Cryptosporidiosis Positive by any method Yes – Submit unpreserved stool specimens or stool specimens in a PCR-compatible preservative (e.g. ethanol-based fixatives such as Total-Fix® or EcoFix®)
Cyclospora cayetanensis Cyclosporiasis Positive by any method Yes – Submit unpreserved stool specimens or stool specimens in a PCR-compatible preservative (e.g. ethanol-based fixatives such as Total-Fix® or EcoFix®)
Entamoeba histolytica/dispar Amebiasis Positive by any method Yes – Submit unpreserved stool specimens or stool specimens in a PCR-compatible preservative (e.g. ethanol-based fixatives such as Total-Fix® or EcoFix®)
Giardia duodenalis (formerly G. lamblia or intestinalis) Giardiasis Positive by any method No  
Plasmodium species Malaria Positive by any method

Yes – Submit blood smear and EDTA-preserved whole blood

Information on other organisms can be found in the Communicable Diseases Reporting Guidelines 2020

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.

The Wadsworth Center is a reference laboratory. Use local or commercial laboratory services whenever available.

Supplies: Call the Order Desk at (518) 474-4175 to order parasitology kits to be tested at the Wadsworth Center. An Infectious Diseases Requisition (IDR) Form must be included for each sample. A Non-permitted Laboratory Test Form must be completed for each specialized molecular detection test.

Specimen Sources

  • Stool: Unpreserved or in a PCR-compatible preservative (e.g. ethanol-based fixatives such as Total-Fix® or EcoFix®). Please submit at least 3mL volume for testing. For unpreserved specimens or specimens in transport medium (e.g. Cary-Blair): ship on cold-packs. For preserved specimens: ship on cold-packs or at room temperature. 
  • Whole Blood: EDTA-preserved. Please submit at least 0.5mL volume for testing. Ship at room temperature or on cold-packs (not frozen).
  • Live/dead specimen (such as fly, larvae, or worm): Fixed in ethanol.
  • Needle aspirates, skin scrapings, or biopsies from skin lesions (cutaneous leishmaniasis): In labeled vial, on cold-packs (not frozen). See Specimen Collection Instructions for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis and submit a Non-permitted Laboratory Test Form.
  • Bone marrow (visceral leishmaniasis): In labeled vial, on cold-packs (not frozen). Does not need to be in media. Submit a Non-permitted Laboratory Test Form.
  • Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF): In labeled vial, on cold-packs (not frozen).
  • Skin scrapings (scabies): See Specimen Collection Instructions for Scabies.

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 our outreach support team.

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 the Infectious Diseases Requisition form, print and send with the specimen. 

For each non-CLEP certified test, complete a Non-permitted Laboratory Test Form.

Where to send a sample

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