Cytopathology of Infectious Diseases

Volume 17 of the series Essentials in Cytopathology pp 351-377


Mimics and Contaminants

  • Liron PantanowitzAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Email author 
  • , Robert A. GoulartAffiliated withNew England Pathology Associates, Mercy Medical Center, Sisters of Providence Health System/Catholic Health East
  • , Rafael Martínez-GirónAffiliated withCF Anatomía Patológica y Citología, Instituto de Piedras Blancas

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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.