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Introduction


The diagnosis of blood parasites depends making high-quality blood films, using the correct stain, recognising the characteristic morphological features and estimating a parasitaemia when appropriate. UKNEQAS Parasitology distributes a wide range of specimens which in order to challenge participants in their diagnostic techniques.

High quality blood films

It is essential to make high quality thick and blood films in order to be able to see the parasites in relation to the surrounding red cells as in a thin blood film and in relation to the background in a thick blood film.

 

Correct stain

The correct stain must be used in order to see the stippling and recognise characteristic features in a blood film containing malaria species and the sheath in microfilariae species.

 
Morphological features

Recognising the morphological features in blood parasites is essential for the correct diagnosis, i.e. whether the red blood cell is enlarged or not, whether the red cells contains stippling or fimbriation, whether a microfilaria possesses a sheath or whether there are nuclei at the tip of the tail.

 
Percentage parasitaemia

Counting of red blood cells infected with parasites of Plasmodium falciparum is essential and the percentage parasitaemia should always be reported as this has implications for prognosis and the pattern of treatment employed

 

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