Parasitology section

  • The Parasitology Section provides for external quality control schemes for microscopic and molecular diagnosis of  parasitic infections in clinical specimens.
  • The organization of the sample preparation and distribution is provided by the Parasitology Section of the SKML (Dutch Foundation for Quality Assessment in Medical Laboratories). Members of SKML parasitology section have been nominated by the Netherlands Society for Parasitology (NVP), the Netherlands Society for Medical Microbiology (NVMM) and the Working group Molecular Diagnostics for Infectious Diseases (WMDI) of the NVMM (for current composition of the section, click here).


  • The aim of the SKML section parasitology is to improve the quality of parasitological diagnostics by providing high  quality samples and educational materials for examination by participants.
  • The section aims to increase the knowledge on parasitological diagnostics of the participating laboratories by the organization of meetings with participants (in Dutch), providing additional theoretical questions, through an active website and by preparing an overall report in which all results and answers to theoretical questions are discussed.
  • The section prepares each year an annual report in which the results of all distributed materials from the past year are analysed. On the basis of these annual reports, the SKML section can detect areas for which further training of the participating laboratories is desirable.
  • The section also prepares an annual plan of activities that is reported to the board of the SKML.

External Quality Assessment Schemes

  • The SKML section parasitology provides four  external quality assessment schemes:
    • The scheme “Blood- and  intestinal parasites” distributes samples to be examined by microscopy  for the presence of parasites. In addition, blood specimens are provided for examination by rapid diagnostic tests for antigens of Plasmodium. This scheme is provided in Dutch only.
    • The  Protozoa External Molecular Quality Assessment Scheme (PEMQAS) distributes unpreserved stool samples for detection of Blastocystis spp., Cryptosporidium spp., Dientamoeba fragilis, Entamoeba dispar, Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia by a Nucleic Acid Amplification Technique (NAAT, such as PCR).
    • The Helminth External Molecular Quality Assessment Scheme (HEMQAS) distributes ethanol preserved stool specimens for detection of Schistosoma spp., Strongyloides stercoralis, Ascaris spp., Trichuris trichiura, Ancylostosma spp., Necator americanus by a Nucleic Acid Amplification Technique (NAAT, such as PCR).
    • The Trichomonas vaginalis External Molecular Quality Assessment Scheme (TRI-EMQAS) distributes urine and/or urogenital swap samples for detection of Trichomonas vaginalis by a Nucleic Acid Amplification Technique (NAAT, such as PCR). In 2018 and 2019 this scheme will be extended as a pilot with two bacterial STD targets: Chlamydia trachomatis en Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
  • The quality control schemes are coordinated by the Laboratory of Parasitology, Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Before being distributed in any of the quality assessment schemes, all samples are  validated  by a number of expert-laboratories  The distribution includes a short  case description for each sample.
  • The participants report their results by Qbase software of the SKML. Shortly after the deadline  the participants will be informed about the intended results. . In addition, a questionnaire will be released including questions about the theoretical bacjground and practical apsects of the procedures used,  Answering these questions will be  encouraged by the SKML, but not rewarded with performance score points. These questions are designed to increase knowledge amongst the participants about the diagnosis and treatment of parasitic infections.
  • All participants will receive a final report with their results and a discussion in which the overall reported results and the reported answers to the  questionnaires will be discussed.
  • Participation in the external quality assessment schemes is anonymous.

Further information and subscription

  • For further, professional information about parasitological External Quality Assessment Schemes, please contact one of the members section.
  • Application for participation in SKML External Quality Assessment Schemes occurs via the SKML agency. The procedure is described in the “Membership” section of the SKML website. The SKML agency also provides general information about the organization of the quality control schemes, the Q-Base information system in which the results are reported as well as the costs of participation.
  • Subscription costs do not include shipment by courier in case the participant is based outside the European Union. or in oversea areas (such as the Netherlands Antilles).

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