Ova and Parasite

Learn how the Ova and Parasite Tests aid in identifying a range of parasitic organisms. Get insights on its clinical utility & specimen collection.

By Olivia Sayson on Jul 15, 2024.


Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What Is An Ova And Parasite Test?

The Ova and Parasite (O&P) test is a diagnostic laboratory examination used to detect the presence of parasitic infections in the human body. Parasitic infections can lead to various gastrointestinal and systemic illnesses. This test focuses explicitly on identifying intestinal parasites' eggs (ova) and cysts (parasite stages), such as Giardia, Entamoeba histolytica, and various worm species.

During the O&P test, a stool sample is collected from the patient and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The sample is carefully examined under a microscope to identify the presence of parasite eggs and cysts. Different staining techniques and concentration methods may be used to enhance detection. Also, specialized tests can be employed if a specific parasite is suspected.

The Ova and Parasite tests are crucial in diagnosing parasitic infections, as these organisms often cause symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss. Accurate identification of the parasite helps healthcare providers prescribe the appropriate treatment, including anti-parasitic medications. Early detection and treatment are vital in preventing complications and further transmission of these parasites.

How Does it Work?

Using a Printable Ova and Parasite Test Form involves several crucial steps for proper completion:

Step 1: Access the Form

Locate and download the Printable Ova and Parasite Test Form from a reputable medical facility's website or obtain a physical copy from the healthcare provider.

Step 2: Personal Information

Begin by filling in the details, including full name, date of birth, contact information, and unique identifiers like a patient or medical record number.

Step 3: Medical History

Fill out the medical history section, disclosing any relevant information about symptoms, recent travel, or potential parasite exposure. Accurate details help assess risk.

Step 4: Sample Collection Instructions

Review and follow the instructions for stool sample collection as outlined in the form. Ensure the sample collection is correct, often requiring a clean, dry container and specific storage conditions.

Step 5: Submission Details

Include information on where and how to submit the sample, which may involve returning it to a healthcare facility, a lab, or via mail. Follow any provided guidelines for packaging and transportation.

Step 6: Consent and Authorization

Sign and date the form, giving informed consent to undergo the Ova and Parasite Test. This step is essential for ensuring legal compliance and ethical testing.

When Would You Use This Test?

The Ova and Parasite Test is a valuable resource healthcare practitioners use in various clinical scenarios.

Firstly, it is crucial for individuals displaying gastrointestinal symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss. This test is a go-to option for primary care physicians and gastroenterologists when evaluating patients with suspected parasitic infections, allowing for accurate diagnosis and targeted treatment.

Secondly, travel medicine specialists frequently utilize this test for individuals returning from regions with a high prevalence of parasitic diseases. It helps identify and address potential travel-related infections, offering timely intervention and preventing the spread of parasites within the community.

Thirdly, in healthcare facilities and clinical laboratories, the Ova and Parasite Test is vital for routine screening and monitoring of patients, especially in high-risk environments like long-term care facilities. This proactive approach aids in the early detection of parasitic infections and minimizes the risk of outbreaks.

Lastly, public health officials and epidemiologists may use this test to investigate suspected waterborne or foodborne outbreaks. By analyzing the ova and parasites in affected individuals, they can trace the source of the contamination, implement appropriate control measures, and safeguard community health.

What do the Results Mean?

The free Ova and Parasite Test results provide crucial insights into a patient's health status and the presence of parasitic infections. Common results typically fall into several categories:

A negative result indicates no ova or parasites were detected in the stool sample. This outcome suggests that the patient is not currently infected with the common intestinal parasites the test targets. It is a reassuring finding, particularly for those who may have been concerned about potential exposure or symptoms. However, it's important to note that a single negative result does not rule out all possible parasitic infections, as parasites can have irregular life cycles and might not consistently shed eggs or cysts.

Meanwhile, a positive result signifies the presence of ova or parasite cysts in the stool sample. This outcome confirms the diagnosis of a parasitic infection. The specific type of parasite identified will guide treatment decisions, as different parasites require different medications. Healthcare providers will tailor their approach based on the parasitic species found.

In some cases, the test may yield inconclusive results, which can happen for various reasons, including low parasite numbers or issues with the sample quality. In such instances, a repeat test or alternative diagnostic methods may be recommended to clarify the diagnosis.

Research & Evidence

The Ova and Parasite (O&P) Test has a long history deeply rooted in the advancement of parasitology and medical diagnostics. The development of this resource can be traced back to the 19th and early 20th centuries when scientists like Sir Patrick Manson and Sir Ronald Ross made groundbreaking discoveries related to the transmission of parasitic diseases. These discoveries laid the foundation for understanding various parasitic life cycles and the importance of accurate diagnosis.

The use of microscopy in examining stool samples for the presence of parasite eggs and cysts became a standardized practice in the mid-20th century. This methodology was further refined and expanded upon by pioneers in clinical parasitology. Dr. William Stamm, for instance, developed concentration techniques that improved the sensitivity of parasite detection.

Evidence supports the O&P Test's efficacy from numerous clinical studies, medical textbooks, and laboratory protocols. The test's reliability in diagnosing parasitic infections is well-documented, with researchers and healthcare professionals continually refining techniques and sharing their findings in peer-reviewed journals.


Garcia, L. S. (2007). Diagnostic Medical Parasitology. ASM Press.

Ash, L. R., & Orihel, T. C. (2007). Atlas of Human Parasitology. American Society for Clinical Pathology Press.

Leiby, D. A., & Riemann, H. P. (2008). The parasitology laboratory. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 21(4), 665-690.

Pritt, B. S., Mead, P. S., Hoang Johnson, D. K. H., et al. (2016). Identification of a novel pathogenic Borrelia species causing Lyme borreliosis with unusually high spirochaetaemia: a descriptive study. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 16(5), 556-564.

Who typically requests a Ova and Parasite Test?
Who typically requests a Ova and Parasite Test?

Commonly asked questions

Who typically requests a Ova and Parasite Test?

Healthcare providers, such as doctors, nurses, and gastroenterologists, usually request these tests when a patient exhibits symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, or unexplained weight loss, which could be linked to parasitic infections.

When are Ova and Parasite Tests used?

These are used when there's a suspicion of parasitic infections. These tests are employed in various scenarios, including diagnosing individuals with gastrointestinal symptoms, evaluating travelers who might have been exposed to parasites abroad, conducting routine screenings in healthcare facilities, and investigating waterborne or foodborne illness outbreaks.

How are Ova and Parasite Tests used?

It involves collecting a stool sample from the patient, following specific instructions provided by a healthcare provider. The sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis, where it is examined under a microscope to detect the presence of parasite eggs or cysts.

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