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Chapter 3 : Collection Options
This section discusses collection and preservation of the clinical specimens for examination. Although clinical specimens for examination can be obtained from many other body sites, specimens and appropriate diagnostic methods are used for the examination of parasites. Various collection methods are available for specimens suspected of containing parasites or parasitic elements. There are many factors to consider before selecting the approach for your own laboratory. Some of the considerations include client base, physician ordering patterns, number of specimens received per month, cost, presence or absence of appropriate equipment, current and possible methodologies, availability of expert microscopists, collection options, selection of preservative-stain combinations, reimbursement issues, client education, area of the world where the laboratory is located, and emphasis on the most common infections (helminth or protozoa or both) seen in that geographic location. Collection and testing options and their pros and cons can be seen. Several fixatives are available: formalin, sodium acetate-acetic acid-formalin (SAF), Schaudinn's fluid, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), and single-vial systems. The specimen used for quality control is designed to be used with fixatives from which permanent stained smears will be prepared. The majority of specimens from other body sites would be submitted as fresh specimens for further testing.