“Creepy, Dreadful, Wonderful Parasites” Dec. 19: A Parasitologist’s View of the World

Every week, Mayo Clinic microbiologist Bobbi Pritt, M.D., posts a new Parasite Wonders case. This week's case features the following transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images of a liquid-based stock culture that was used as a positive control. This positive control organism was plated at the same time as patient specimens to ensure that the culture medium was capable of sustaining the organism's growth. Cultures were accomplished by plating the control or the patient specimen onto a non-nutrient agar overlain with a lawn of bacteria as a food source. We recently did away with this culture in favor of a faster real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay that is performed daily (cultures used to take up to five days to become positive). Below are some representative images that we took. What's the identification?

Every week, Mayo Clinic microbiologist Bobbi Pritt, M.D., posts a new case, along with the answer to the previous case. Read Dr. Pritt's blog, Parasite Wonders, and submit your answers, comments, and questions. Also, visit her website ParasiteWonders.com, which hosts an archive of classic images from cases Dr. Pritt has posted going back to 2007 (in an easy-to-search "A through Z" format) and also offers a flashcard feature.

Dr. Pritt started her blog after she completed her fellowship at Mayo Clinic in clinical microbiology. She attended the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to study parasitology for one year. During that year in England, Dr. Pritt saw some amazing cases, which she shared with her colleagues back at Mayo through her blog. Through word of mouth, people from all walks of life around the globe have become interested in Dr. Pritt’s “case of the week,” and her readership continues to grow.

Note from Dr. Pritt: All opinions expressed here are mine and not my employer's. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as, and does not substitute for, medical advice. I do not accept medical consults from patients.

BobbiP

Bobbi Pritt, M.D.

Bobbi Pritt, M.D., is Director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory in Mayo Clinic's Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. Her research interests are in clinical parasitology, vector-borne diseases, trainee education, and appropriate test utilization.