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Malaria parasite screen

Category Haematology
Test background

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. It is widespread in tropical and sub-tropical regions, including much of sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Americas. Malaria is a treatable disease that can be quickly fatal in non-immune people. It is therefore important to make an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible. There are five species of malarial parasites: • Plasmodium falciparum • Plasmodium vivax • Plasmodium ovale • Plasmodium malariae • Plasmodium Knowlesi The preparation and subsequent examination of freshly spread, thick and thin malarial blood films from EDTA anti-coagulated blood is the accepted method worldwide for demonstrating the presence or absence of malarial parasites in a patient’s blood. Rapid immunochromatographic antigen tests are also performed on all new diagnostic encounters. Please note: patients with established malarial disease are monitored by microscopy only.

Clinical Indications

Symptoms include fever, shivering, arthralgia, vomiting, anaemia (caused by haemolysis) haemoglobinuria, retinal damage and convulsions. The classic clinical picture of malaria is cyclical occurrence of sudden coldness, followed by rigor, and then fever and sweating lasting 4-6 hours, occurring every two days in P. vivax and P. ovale infections, and every three days for P. malariae. P. falciparum can present with recurrent fever every 36-48 hours, or a less pronounced and almost continuous fever.

Sample & container required 4 mL EDTA (lavender top) adults; 0.5 mL EDTA (lavender top) paediatrics
Sample volume 0.5 mL adult tube; 0.2 mL paediatric tube
Turnaround time 3 hours

Sample must be received by lab within 4 hours of collection.