Leishmania – Culture, Microscopy and PCR

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit


Cutaneous form: Filter paper lesion impression; brushing; scraping; biopsy or aspirate from edge or base of skin lesion – slide from the same site3

1.0 ml for aspirated material

Sterile container


Visceral form: EDTA blood, splenic or bone marrow aspirate or tissue sections on slides.

1.0 ml for aspirated material or EDTA blood

Sterile container EDTA tube

Submission and Collection Notes


Please note on the requisition (under other) if the patient has Eosinophilia, HIV, is immunocompromised, has a Critical illness or was admitted to ICU, or had a previous parasitic infection. 


Indicate if the patient is a new immigrant or refugee or returned traveler under ‘Travel’ section of the requisition. It is imperative that the foreign country be identified.


Aspirates from the base of the skin lesions are spread on a slide to make a thin smear.

Storage and Transport

Label the specimen container with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.

Special Instructions

Place specimen in biohazard bag and seal. Store specimen at room temperature and ship to the PHO laboratory as soon as possible.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Leishmania testing is performed Monday to Friday.

Turnaround Time:

  • Smears: up to 3 days from receipt by PHO laboratory; 
  • PCR: up to 2 days from receipt by PHO laboratory;
  • Culture: up to 30 days from receipt by PHO laboratory

Test Methods

Leishmania specimens are tested by microscopy, culture and PCR.

Aspirates from base of the skin lesions are spread on a slide to make a thin smear, and stained with Giemsa’s stain.

Culture is performed using Tobie’s medium with and without antibiotics.

PCR is performed on all specimens received where volume is sufficient.


Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

Mis à jour le 20 juill. 2020