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Specimens distributed in UKNEQAS Faecal Parasitology Distributions consist of liquid specimens (i.e. faecal samples, urine samples and cyst fluid) and faecal smears.  The principal of the successful identification of faecal parasites is based upon.

The use of an eyepiece graticule is of the utmost importance, especially for cyst identification.

In protozoan cysts, the number of nuclei and the presence of inclusions e.g. glycogen mass and chromidial bar, red blood cells aid the identification of protozoa cysts and trophozoites. In helminth eggs the presence or absence of features such as an operculum, spine or hooklets are diagnostic pointers to the identity of the parasite

In helminth eggs, the shape of the egg, the thickness of the shell, the colour of the ovum diagnostic pointers to the identity of the parasite

Stains also aid in identification of the parasite. The addition of iodine to formol ether concentrates highlights the internal structure of cysts and helps distinguish between vegetable matter and cysts. Permanently stained faecal smears are useful in demonstrating the nuclear pattern of cysts.


UKNEQAS Parasitology endeavours to send a range of specimens that are not only educational but also encourages participants to critically examine their routine method to take individual action to investigate and remedy any defects revealed from their score. The teaching sheets in this website are designed for education purposes.

Kettelhut MM, Chiodini PL, Edwards H, et al. External quality assessment schemes raise standards: evidence from the UKNEQAS parasitology schemes. J Clin Pathol 2003;56:927e32.

Manser MM, Saez ACS, Chiodini PL. Faecal Parasitology: Concentration Methodology Needs to be Better Standardised. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2016;PMID: 27073836, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004579


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