New testing methods have helped parasitology become quicker and more efficient.

Interesting Fact:  The first species of the parasitic genus Trypanosoma was identified in 1841.
Interesting Fact:  There are hundreds of different common parasitic organisms that live in the human body, but a study in 1999 found that a single trichrome-stained smear of a concentrated stool sample can detect 99.2% of parasitic infections in humans (http://jcm.asm.org/content/37/3/835.full).

What is parasitology?

As its name suggests, parasitology is the study of parasites.  A parasite is something that brings disease to its host.  Parasitology evaluates and studies how the host-parasite interaction works.  Parasitology has been strongly impacted from other fields of study such as microbiology and immunology.
 

What tests are effective for detecting parasites?

There are multiple options depending on what symptoms are presenting.  Tests will be ordered based on the signals and symptoms a patient is showing.  Diagnosis can be tricky so it may require multiple tests to detect certain parasites.  Blood tests can show certain parasitic infections, but unfortunately can’t detect all instances.  Tests evaluating diarrhea or loose stools for parasites are stool exams (called a fecal exam).  Doctors can also use traditional X-rays, MRIs, or CAT scans to locate larger parasites.

What is Wheatley’s Trichrome stain procedure?

Wheatley’s Trichrome is a technique used during a fecal exam that is designed to produce uniformly well-stained smears of the same material.  Wheatley’s Trichrome test is a modification of Gomori’s original staining test for tissue.  Wheatley’s test makes improvements on Gomori’s method and provides results more quickly and simply, facilitating the detection and identification of cysts and trophozoites.

How to detect cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of waterborne diseases which come from a parasitic organism.  Crypto can inhabit water sources such as swimming pools, lakes, or streams that have been contaminated from feces or sewage.  Since there is a small number of Cryptosporidium oocysts in water, detection can be difficult so it’s not uncommon for patients to need to submit multiple samples over the course of several days.  Usually stool samples are evaluated microscopically using a test kit that is specifically formulated for detecting cryptosporidium.
 

Using trichrome-blue stain for detection of microsporidial species

Traditionally the detection of microsporidia has used either staining, electron microscopy, or histology. The changes that are a decrease in phosphotungstic acid level and the substitution of colorfast counterstain, aniline blue, for the fast green of the original stain. The modified stain provides good contrast between microsporidial spores and background material including human and fungal cells.*

Parasitology detection kits from Volu-Sol

Volu-Sol carries parasitic stains such as the Wheatley Procedure and even parasite specific stains such as the Cryptosporidia stain kit. They are a leading manufacturer of stains, reagents, and other chemicals. Volu-Sol has been a chemical manufacturer and formulating custom solutions for over 25 years. As a result, their product line differs among specific clients. To get specific prices and availability an account must be created.

* JOURNAL OF CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY,Dec.1993,p.3264-3269