Ova and Parasites Examination Stool Test
The Ova and Parasites Examination Stool Test detects pathogens in a stool sample to screen for a parasitic intestinal infection.
What are pathogens?
Pathogens are tiny organisms, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, yeast, or parasites, that cause infections or diseases. Usually, the body combats pathogens by using the immune system and some "helpful" bacteria in the body's normal human flora. However, if the immune system or "helpful" bacteria is compromised or weakened, pathogenic bacteria being combatted can re-emerge and spread, causing harm to the host.
What is the purpose of this test?
Order this Ova and Parasites Examination Stool Test to detect pathogens in a stool sample and screen for a parasitic intestinal infection. Various parasites can cause digestive system infections (gastrointestinal (GI) infections). When a parasite infects the digestive tract, causing symptoms such as diarrhea, the parasites and their eggs (ova) are shed from the digestive tract into the stool.
This test uses thin smears of fresh or preserved stool that are stained on glass slides. The parasites and their ova may be seen and identified using a microscope. Different ova and parasites have distinct shapes, sizes, and internal structures characteristic of their species. Generally, an individual will only have one type of parasite causing their symptoms, though there could be more than one. The most common and often detected parasites in the United States are:
- Giardia - are some of the most common intestinal parasites in the United States.
- Cryptosporidium (often called crypto) - is one of the leading causes of recreational water-related disease outbreaks in the U.S.
- Entamoeba histolytica - common but only causes illness in about 10% to 20% of those infected.
It should be noted that the specific pathogens screened for in the Ova and Parasites Exam vary depending on the lab.
When should I order this Ova and Parasites Examination Stool Test?
Individuals may order this if they have recently experienced symptoms related to a parasitic intestinal infection. The Ova and Parasites Examination Stool Test is ideal for patients with sudden gastrointestinal issues that have:
- Recently traveled abroad
- Been camping
- Been exposed to untreated water
- Been exposed to someone who has a parasitic infection
- Close contact with animals
- Consumed undercooked meat or seafood
Common symptoms associated with a parasitic intestinal infection include:
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Anal itching
- Blood or mucus in loose stools
Trusted, Secure, & Confidential
Shop All Tests