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Stool ova and parasites exam

Definition

Stool ova and parasites exam is a laboratory test to determine if a stool sample contains parasites or eggs (ova) that are associated with intestinal infections.

Alternative Names

Parasites and stool ova exam

How the test is performed

A stool sample is needed. There are many ways to collect the sample. You can catch the stool on plastic wrap that is loosely placed over the toilet bowl and held in place by the toilet seat. Then, put the sample in a clean container.

One test kit supplies a special toilet tissue that you use to collect the sample. You then put the sample in a clean container.

To collect a sample from a child in diapers, line the diaper with plastic wrap. If the plastic wrap is positioned properly, you can keep the stool separate from urine, thus ensuring a better sample.

Return the sample to your health care provider's office or laboratory as directed. At the lab, a small smear of stool is placed on a microscope slide and examined.

How the test will feel

The laboratory test does not involve the patient. There is no discomfort.

Why the test is performed

Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of a parasitic infestation, prolonged diarrhea of unknown cause, or other intestinal symptoms.

Normal Values

There are no parasites or eggs in the stool sample.

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What abnormal results mean

An abnormal result means parasites or eggs are present in the stool. This is a sign of a parasitic infestation. Such infections include:

What the risks are

There are no risks.

References

DuPont HL. Approach to the patient with suspected enteric infection. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 305.

Steiner TS, Guerrant RL. Principles and syndromes of enteric infection. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 93.


Review Date: 5/4/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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