Date: 04 Jul 2011

Mimics and Contaminants

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Many potential artifacts and contaminants may be encountered when examining cytology slides that could mimic true microorganisms or cytopathic changes secondary to infection and thereby lead to an erroneous diagnosis. They may occur at the time the sample is collected or they may occur during or after laboratory processing. When one encounters such findings, their significance should be established and ways to avoid them determined. This chapter describes several cytology artifacts and contaminants that are likely to be mistaken for true infections.