The Parasite Examination Blood Test is used to aid in the diagnosis of infection with Plasmodium or other types of parasites. Plasmodium includes over 100 organisms including those which cause Malaria. Malaria is typically spread through mosquito bites. Most Malaria cases in the United States occur among travelers to areas such as Africa or South Asia. Infections with Malaria typically produce flu-like symptoms and can lead to severe health complications including death. This test examines smears made from a blood sample and treated with a special stain to identify parasites. Blood smear testing is considered the gold standard for diagnosing malaria infections and is recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Because parasite levels can vary from one blood sample to the next, a single negative result is often not considered conclusive. In the event of a negative result when parasitic infection is strongly suspected, up to 3 tests on different samples should be performed.
This test is typically ordered when a person has abnormal results from a Complete Blood Count (CBC) especially if they are experiencing symptoms which indicate infection with Malaria or other parasitic organisms. The best time to have blood drawn is usually shortly after a fever develops.
Turnaround for this test is typically 4-6 business days.
Note: Result turn around times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.
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