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Thread: Parasite identification

  1. #1 Parasite identification 
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    Hello everyone. I had an undergrad practical where we had to microscopically examine a stool sample and identify the parasite present. Attached is a camera phone photo of the supposed parasite. So far I haven't had any luck finding anything that looks like it.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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    Forum Masters Degree mat5592's Avatar
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    what magnification was this viewed at? if you remember anyway


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  4. #3  
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    I don't remember, but I really should have written that down. It would be 400x at most, since we didn't seal the coverslip so there would be no way to do oil immersion.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Masters Degree mat5592's Avatar
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    hmm well it's not anything i've ever seen in the lab, so i'd assume it isn't very common but i could be wrong. this one has very unique distinguishing characteristics (from what i'm used to looking at) so i would be able to recall what it was had i seen it before. i may do some google work later when i get home if nobody has identified it by then.
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  6. #5  
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    Is pseudoparasite an acceptable answer? Lol
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  8. #7  
    Anti-Pseudoscience Some's Avatar
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    Can it be fluke ?
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  9. #8  
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    as far as flukes go, you would expect to find eggs in the fecal specimen, not the actual fluke. this doesn't look like an egg. looks like the larval stage of something, but nothing i've ever seen. or as i mentioned earlier, maybe a pseudoparasite? were you responsible for examining the slide yourself, or did your professor already have it fixated on this? it could just be something that resembles a parasite but is actually just an artifact of some sort. not enough info to know.
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  10. #9  
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    Butt bugs.

    You never know what will pop up next.
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  11. #10  
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    Hm... it is fluke-shaped but, as you say, adult flukes don't usually appear in stool specimens. We were supposed to examine the slides ourselves, but given our inexperience with formalin-ethyl acetate sedimentation only one group had a "positive" slide, which was already fixated on this when I got a look at it. I don't know whether our professor had a look at it to make sure that we weren't fixated on an artifact, but he seemed very confident that we would be able to identify the parasite present. Besides, it doesn't really look like any common artifact (e.g. pollen grain).

    It's not too late for me to ask for more clues, but we are on a mid-term break right now.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Masters Degree mat5592's Avatar
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    well, if it's something you should know, maybe provide a list of all the ones you have learned about? then we could narrow it down from there.
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  13. #12  
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    The ones we covered in detail are:

    Nematodes - Trichinella spiralis and Trichuris trichiura
    Trematodes - Schistosoma haematobium, Schistosoma japonicum, Fasciola hepaticum

    We briefly touched on hookworms, Strongyloides, Taenia, Enterobius, Ascaris, and filaria (which I don't think are relevant but I'll put here anyway).

    Thanks for all the help, by the way. Even if it turns out to be an artifact this is still good revision for my upcoming mid-term.
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    okay, thanks for the list, i'm actually familiar with all of those. i'm going to assume it's a parasite and not some artifact that looks like one. t. spiralis would be found in the muscle tissue, so it's definitely not that. you would expect to find the eggs of t. trichuria, that's not an egg, nor does it look like the adult form.

    the schistosomas are found in the blood, but their eggs are found in the urine (haematobium) and feces (japonicum and mansoni). but again, that's not an egg. it's also clearly not f. hepatica as an egg or adult.

    if anything on that list, i would say strongyloides stercoralis. this is because in diagnosing parasites from fecal specimens, you identify the rhabditiform larva in s. stercoralis, whereas in most of the parasites you provided, you identify their eggs. the picture looks much more like a larval stage parasite than an egg in my opinion, but i'm no expert by any means.

    edit: e. vermicularis may be an option too, as you can find the adult form in feces, and the picture does somewhat resemble the shape, probably even more than s. stercoralis. also as a note, i don't think e. vermicularis or a. lumbricoides are hookworms.
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  15. #14  
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    Many thanks for your time. I don't think those species are hookworms either, but my phrasing was a bit ambiguous.
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  16. #15  
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    you're welcome! it's good review for me so don't hesitate to ask anything else.
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