Taxonomy: Protozoa
Animal: Leeuwenhoek 9 01.jpg
Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek called the Father of Microbiology. In 1673, he observed protozoa in pond water. Microscopy is still the gold standard for parasitology. Clinical notes and travel history are essential in determining tests required. Examine liquid or soft faeces within 1/2 hour of passing to see motile trophozoites OR fixed immediately with PVA fixative as protozoan parasites deteriorate. It is essential for identification to examine stained (FeHX or Trichrome) smear as well as saline and iodine preparations. Formed faeces may be kept for several days at 4C or fixed with 10 percent formalin. Use a modified acid fast test to diagnose Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora sp, a modified Trichrome-blue stain for microsporidia, modified formalin-ether concentration technique to detect protozoan cysts and helminth ova. Examine 3 specimens collected on alternate days over 10 days (If amoebiasis is suspected, 6 specimens over 14 days). To ensure cure, specimens should be examined 3-4 weeks after treatment. To detect light infections of hookworm, Strongyloides or Trichostrongylus sp. faeces should not be refrigerated and should be cultured; modified agar plate method (Koga et al 1991) is recommended; warranted in those travelling from endemic areas or ex-prisoners of war. If schistosomiasis is suspected (Those travelling from areas endemic to these diseases), incubate faeces or urine for egg hatching. EM, serological tests, biopsies, duodenal aspirates and various molecular tests may also be useful. Measurements are vital for id of parasites.

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