Lab Test

Stain, Pneumocystis

Pneumocystis jirovecii (carinii) DFA, Pneumocystis Stain, PCP, PJP

Test Codes




Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect: Pulmonary specimen in tightly sealed, sterile collection container. Acceptable specimen are listed below.

  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage (BAL)
  • Bronchial Washing
  • Induced Sputum
  • Lung Biopsy
  • Sputum (This specimen is the least acceptable for Pneumocystis Stain. Non-induced sputum specimen are not encouraged but will not be rejected.)

Physician Office/Draw Specimen Preparation

The specimen must be refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F) within two hours of collection. Maintain refrigerated prior to transport.

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: Pulmonary specimen in a tightly sealed, sterile collection container, refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F).

Rejection Criteria

  • Specimens received in formalin or other preservatives.
  • Specimens received on slides or swabs.
  • Frozen specimens.

Inpatient Specimen Preparation

Deliver specimen to the Laboratory immediately after collection.


Specimen Stability for Testing:

Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 2 hours
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 5 days
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): Unacceptable

Specimen Storage in Department Prior to Disposal:

Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 7 days


Dearborn Microbiology Laboratory
Taylor, Trenton and Wayne sent to Dearborn Microbiology Laboratory for testing

Royal Oak Microbiology Laboratory
Farmington Hills, Grosse Pointe, and Troy sent to Royal Oak Microbiology Laboratory for testing 


Monday – Friday.
STAT specimens available on weekends, 7:00 am – 3:30 pm.
Routine results available within 24 hours.

Reference Range

No Pneumocystis seen.

Test Methodology

  • Direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) - monoclonal antibodies against P. jirovecii cysts and sporozoites cell wall and matrix.
  • Microscopy.
  • Fluid specimens are concentrated and stained.
  • Imprints are made from tissue specimens and stained.


Specific fluorescence with typical morphology is diagnostic for the presence of P. jirovecii.

Clinical Utility

This assay aids in the diagnosis of Pneumocystis jirovecii, formerly P. carinii.


  1. MeriFluor Direct Immunofluorescent Detection Procedure, Package Insert, SN 11060, Rev. 6/02.
  2. Medscape: Pneumocystis (carinii) jirovecii Pneumonia Overview of PCP, Nicholas John Bennett, MB, BCh, PhD; Chief Editor: Burke A Cunha, MD. Updated February 2012.

CPT Codes



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