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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Parasitology Case Studies: Protozoa in Blood (by ASCLS). Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Laboratory Diagnosis

  • Microscopic examination fresh anticoagulated blood or buffy coat for motile trypomastigotes
  • Thin and thick blood smears stained with Giemsa
  • Morphology in blood trypomastigote rarely seen in chronic disease
  • Large, subterminal or terminal kinetoplast
  • Centrally located nucleus
  • Undulating membrane
  • Flagellum on anterior end
  • 12 to 30 µm in length
  • Typical "c" or "u" shape

  • CDC/ Dr. Mae Melvin
  • Morphology in heart muscle

    • Amastigote form difficult to distiguish from Leishmania spp.
    • Large nucleus and rod-shaped kinetoplast

    CDC/ Dr. A.J. Sulzer

    Serological Diagnosis

    • Indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) test is available at CDC
    • FDA-cleared commercial diagnostic enzyme immunoassay (EIA)
    • Because there can be cross reactivity with Leishmania spp., two serological tests are performed to identify chronic infections
    CDC DPDx