Clinics and Departments

Laboratory Services

Lab Dept:


Test Name:


General Information

Lab Order Codes:



Babesiosis, PCR; Babesia gibsoni, PCR

CPT Codes:

87798 – Amplification (PCR) microbial

Test Includes:

PCR amplification for detection of Babesia microtti.


Test Indications:

Useful as an initial screening method for suspected babesiosis during the initial flu-like stage of infection in patients from endemic areas, especially when the Giemsa-stained peripheral blood smear does not reveal any organisms.

Lab Testing Sections:

Serology - Sendouts

Referred to:

Mayo Medical Laboratories (MML Test: 81147/PBAB)

Phone Numbers:

MIN Lab: 612-813-6280

STP Lab: 651-220-6550

Test Availability:

Daily, 24 hours

Turnaround Time:

1– 4 days, test performed Monday – Saturday

Special Instructions:



Specimen Type:

Whole Blood


Lavender top (EDTA) tube
Note: Green (heparin) top tubes are NOT acceptable.

Draw Volume:

1 mL (Minimum: 0.3 mL) blood

Processed Volume:

Same as Draw Volume


Routine venipuncture

Special Processing:

Lab Staff: DO NOT centrifuge specimens. Store and ship specimens in the original vacutainers at refrigerated temperatures. Forward promptly.

Submitting the minimum specimen volume makes it impossible to repeat the test or perform confirmatory or perform reflex testing. In some situations a minimum specimen volume may result in a QNS (quantity not sufficient) result, requiring a second specimen to be collected.

Patient Preparation:


Sample Rejection:

Unlabeled or mislabeled specimens; specimens other than EDTA; gross hemolysis; gross lipemia


Reference Range:


Interpretation: A positive result indicates presence of Babesia microti DNA and is consistent with active or recent infection. While positive results are highly specific indicators of disease, they should be correlated with blood smear microscopy, serological results and clinical findings.

A negative result indicates absence of detectable DNA from Babesia microti in the specimen, but does not always rule out ongoing babesiosis in a seropositive person, since the parasitemia may be present at a low level or may be sporadic.

Other tests to consider in the evaluation of a patient presenting with a flu-like illness following tick exposure include serologic tests for Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), babesiosis and ehrlichiosis/anaplasmosis. For patients who are past the acute stage of infection, serologic tests for these organisms should be ordered prior to PCR testing.

Critical Values:



While this assay is designed to detect only Babesia microti infection of clinical significance, it may detect low grade asymptomatic parasitemia in individuals exposed to babesiosis-endemic areas. Thus, it should used for patients with a clinical history and symptoms consistent with babesiosis. This test should not be used to screen asymptomatic patients or blood transfusion units.

This test is designed for detection of Babesia microti, but may cross-react with a few other species of Babesia that may be pathogenic for human, including Babesia duncani. It will NOT detect Babesia divergens or the newly described MO-1 strain. If these organisms are suspected, blood smears and serologic tests should be considers.

Inhibitory substances may cause false-negative results. Inadequate specimen collection or improper storage may invalidate test results.


Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)/DNA Probe Hybridization


Mayo Medical Laboratories June 2013

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