Medical Entomology Laboratory Identification Service

There are a range of invertebrate organisms in the environment in Western Australia that present a real, or potential, risk to public health. It is important to accurately identify them, to ensure the most appropriate control or treatment measures can be implemented.

Medical Entomology’s (ME) Laboratory Identification Service is specifically available to General Practitioners and pathology laboratories that need advice and/or assistance in identifying invertebrates of public health significance, most commonly:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Lice
  • Fleas
  • Bedbugs
  • Ticks
  • Mites

Samples collected by licenced pest management technicians and local government environmental health representatives may also be accepted, if the specimen is collected from the surrounding environment of a client (not directly from their body).

For identification of any other insects/organisms that do not present a risk to public health, please direct enquiries to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS) (external site).

Delusional infestation

Delusional infestation (DI) is a rare psychotic syndrome. The syndrome was previously known as delusional parasitosis.

Sufferers of DI believe, against all medical evidence, that their skin and/or body is infested by small, vivid (or less frequently ‘inanimate’) pathogens.

The two core symptoms that characterise DI patients are:

  • the rigid belief that they are infested by ‘pathogens’ (small, vivid, inanimate [rare], often ‘new to science’) or
  • abnormal sensations (itching, biting, crawling) in/on the skin, which can be explained by the above.

The Delusional Infestation – A management guide for general practitioners (PDF 7MB) is a useful resource for practitioners that describes forms of DI, characteristics of patients, symptoms and advice on management.

Submission information

Referring practitioners are strongly encouraged to review all samples provided to them by a patient/client, to ensure they are eligible for submission.

The following samples will be accepted.

  • Samples submitted directly by a referring General Practitioner, laboratory, licenced pest management technician or local government environmental health representative. 
  • Samples containing invertebrate organisms that present a real, or potential, risk to public health (e.g. mosquitoes, lice, fleas, bedbugs, ticks and mites).

The following samples will not be accepted.

  • Samples containing, or suspected to contain, blood or body fluids.
  • Samples submitted directly by patients.
  • Samples that have not been appropriately stored/packaged by the referring practitioner prior to submission. Please refer to the Sample Transport and Submission Guidelines for more information.
  • Worms or worm-like specimens (please direct to a parasitologist or other appropriate laboratory).
  • Other organisms or other materials or that do not present a risk to public health.
Laboratory identification request form

All samples submitted for identification need to be accompanied by a Medical entomology laboratory identification request form (PDF 172KB).

Please contact Medical Entomology on (08) 9285 5500 for the following:

  • if you require assistance in completing the request form
  • to advise of your intention to submit a specimen for laboratory identification
  • to obtain the address for sample submission.
Sample transport and submission guidelines

Refer to the Sample transport and submission guidelines (PDF  216KB) to ensure the specimen is eligible for submission.

It is also important that any specimens are stored/transported in an appropriate manner to maintain sample integrity and biosecurity protocols for staff safety.

More information

Medical Entomology
Phone: (08) 9285 5500

Last reviewed: 18-03-2024
Produced by

Environmental Health Directorate