Amoebic serology is a broad description of laboratory testing for amoebic parasites. The three most common parasites in the United States are single-cell intestinal parasites: Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica (E. histolytica) and Cryptosporidium parvum. Common symptoms of intestinal parasitic infections include prolonged diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, mucus in the stool, abdominal pain, and nausea. Patients may also experience headaches and fever. Some infected individuals may have few or no noticeable symptoms.
Infection with these parasites can be detected using several laboratory assays. These include serologic blood antibody tests, feces testing for parasite antigens or direct Ova and Parasite examination (O&P) of fresh liquid feces specimens. Serological testing for parasitic antibodies such as immunoglobulin G (IgG) is useful to determine current or past infection. Because antibodies typically take several weeks to appear, this type of assay is not generally useful for acute infections.
Amoebic serology testing is used to evaluate diarrhea caused by parasitic infection, to diagnose invasive extraintestinal disease and to diagnose parasitic infection in HIV and immunocompromised patients. Additional tests may include Ova and Parasites Exam (O&P), stool culture and amoebiasis by PCR (polymerase chain reaction).
Reference ranges and specimen collection vary from test method and laboratories performing this test. To properly evaluate your test results, consult with the ordering physician or healthcare provider. If you would like to learn more about testing for amoebic serology click here for further information or you can research one of the references listed below.
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