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HSL Parasitology

HSL’s Department of Clinical Parasitology serves as a National Parasitology Reference Laboratory. It services requests from general practitioners, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and medical laboratories in the NHS and private sector. The department has an international reputation, and provides a parasitology service to clinicians and laboratories worldwide.

We offer a wide range of investigations including diagnosis and identification of parasites in clinical material, diagnosis of human parasitic disease by immunological methods in addition to culture of parasitic organisms and detection of parasitic genomic material from clinical samples. The Department processes over 36,000 requests per annum.

A 24-hour service for microscopic diagnosis of malaria, trypanosomiasis and gastrointestinal amoebiasis (via hot stools) is available.

We also offer guidance regarding the appropriateness and timing of tests as well as a clinical advice service covering result interpretation and patient management.

Laboratory hours

Information and advice is available from staff in the Department of Clinical Parasitology within normal working hours (0900–1700 Monday to Friday).

General enquiries

Phone +44 (0)20 7307 9400 (switchboard) and, when connected, ask for one of:

  • Parasitology microscopy
  • Parasitology serology
  • Dr Spencer Polley (Scientific Lead)
  • Parasitology medical staff

For healthcare professionals seeking advice regarding services offered by the Department of Clinical Parasitology or the suitability and transport of specimens, as well as test results please contact the Scientific Lead or appropriate laboratory section.

For clinical enquiries including appropriate test section, interpretation of results, or patient management please contact the Consultant Parasitologist or Parasitology Registrar (your call will be transferred to the laboratory team if they are unavailable).

Regrettably, the Department of Clinical Parasitology is unable to offer clinical advice directly to members of the public. Patients are advised to contact their GP in the first instance or follow the advice available on the Hospital for Tropical Diseases website if unwell following travel.

Please note: the Department will only release test results to recognised health care providers. It is unable to release results to members of the general public, patients or their friends and family.

We are always happy to receive feedback on the quality or scope of service offered. Please send to

Urgent requests during normal hours

If a result is likely to have a direct and immediate impact on patient care, we will endeavour to process the test as quickly as possible. Please contact the laboratory to advise them of any such urgent sample using the following number:

  • Phone 020 7307 9400 (switchboard)

When connected, ask for one of:

  • Parasitology microscopy
  • Parasitology serology

A responsible person (and deputy) capable of accepting and transmitting the result(s) in the submitting organisation must be identified at this time, along with a suitable contact number. The results of urgent tests will be telephoned by a senior member of staff to the identified person (or deputy) in the submitting organisation as soon as the result is verified.

Out of hours service

For out-of-hours urgent malaria/hot stool/African trypanosomiasis diagnosis only, please call +44 (0)845 155 5000 or +44 (0)20 3456 7890 and ask for the on-call Parasitologist.

For urgent out-of-hours advice on clinical matters, please phone switchboard (020 3456 7890) and ask to be transferred to the duty tropical medicine SPR.

Emergency On-call Service

A 24-hour, 7-day service is provided for urgent diagnosis of malaria, trypanosomiasis and intestinal amoebiasis (via hot stools). See above.