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Parasitic Diseases

Parasites Home > Laboratorians


The Parasitic Diseases Branch contains a laboratory unit dedicated to reference diagnosis on difficult cases of parasitic infections. This unit serves as a final reference laboratory for state public health departments as well as for laboratories in the private sector. It is also dedicated to developmental diagnostics and pathogen discovery. Our reference diagnostic services include telediagnosis, morphology, serology, and, when necessary, molecular testing.

Photo of two CDC microbiologists and telediagnosis equipment
Two CDC microbiologists review a telediagnosis request. (CDC Photo)

When a laboratory would like assistance in identifying a parasitic organism, or confirmation of a presumed diagnosis, and they have access to a digital camera, they can use telediagnosis. Telediagnosis involves email transmission of data, such as digital images captured from samples and clinical and travel history, to CDC. Response to these inquiries can be provided in a matter of minutes to hours. If you are a laboratorian or a pathologist and want to use telediagnosis assistance*, please visit the Diagnostic Assistance section on the DPDx Web site.

*Telediagnosis assistance is free and is available Monday-Friday during regular business hours only. If you have an urgent case, please do not delay case management.

Many cases of parasitic infection can be identified through ova and parasite testing or examination of blood smears. Our reference diagnostic laboratory performs morphologic examinations for identification of parasites associated with human infections.

Selected serological testing for diagnosis of parasitic diseases is available through our serology laboratory. See our list of available tests.

 Photo of a CDC laboratorian with real-time PCR equipment.
 A CDC laboratorian reviews real-time PCR results. (CDC Photo)

Selected PCR-based tests are available in our reference diagnostic laboratory for identification of certain parasites at the species level for cases in which morphologic examinations are not conclusive for identifying parasites and further molecular analysis, e.g., DNA sequencing analysis, is necessary. Our diagnostic laboratories offer DNA-based testing on a variety of clinical specimens, including stool, blood, tissue and exudates.

For more information about laboratory procedures for identification of parasites, please visit our DPDx: Laboratory Identification of Parasites of Public Health Concern Web site.

Related Laboratorian Links

Association of Public Health Laboratories

National Laboratory Training Network


Page last modified: April 24, 2008
Page last reviewed: January 10, 2007
Content Source: Division of Parasitic Diseases (DPD)
National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-borne, and Enteric Diseases (ZVED)
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