Microscopic Diagnosis of Blood Parasites Following a Cytoconcentration Technique

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  • Qualite en Parasitologie et Biologie, Centre Hospitalier, School of Public Health, University of California, Unite de Parasitologie, Hopital Louis Mourier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie, Hopital Cochin, Gonesse, France

An isotonic fixative (formalin and thimerosal) solution, with a saponin additive to lyse erythrocytes and platelets, has been developed. The formalin and thimerosal ensure good preservation of blood parasites. This fixative has led to the development of a new concentration technique using cytocentrifugation (cytospin) in the search for Plasmodium spp., Leishmania spp., and microfilariae, as well as leukocytes in which parasites or pigment may be present. The concentration of the parasites present in the sediment from 100 µl of blood spread on a 6-mm diameter circle results in good morphology that is well stained using the usual Giemsa or Wright techniques. This new technique has the advantage of a relatively low cost and offers the possibility of isolating and identifying in the same sediment the main blood-stage parasites, with the exception of young trophozoites, of Plasmodium falciparum.