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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Intestinal Worms. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Not all oval or round, consistently formed structures are parasites. It is important to use a discerning eye when examining direct wet preps or those from concentrates. Some examples of frequent mistakes include:
  • Distinguishing plant hairs from larvae (hint: plant hairs will lack any internal morphology and are sometimes broken at one end). The first image to the right shows a plant hair.
  • Distinguishing other plant material from eggs (hint: they are usually larger than most worm eggs). The second image to the right shows a plant cell.
  • Distinguishing spores and pollen grains (hint: often smaller than worm eggs and they may have structures not found in worm eggs).
  • Also: Charcot-Leyden crystals are found in people with allergic reactions or tissue invading parasites (hint: they are very pointy and lack internal structure).
45. DPDx. "Artifacts - Figure C: Plant hair in a concentrated wet mount of stool. Plant hairs can be common in stool and may be confused for the larvae of hookworm or Strongyloides stercoralis. However, they are often broken at one end, have a refractile center and lack the strictures seem in helminth larvae (esophagus, genital primordium, etc).", 3 May 2016,
46. DPDx. "Artifacts - Figure A: Plant cell in a concentrated wet mount of stool. Such material can be common in stool and may be confused for helminth eggs, although they are usually much larger than the eggs of most helminth species.", 3 May 2016,

Plant hair as an artifact (45).
Plant cell as an artifact (46).