Malaria antigen

Last updated: Wednesday, 24, March, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

5 mL blood in EDTA; 2 mL blood in special paediatric EDTA tube.

Method

Antigen detection by immunochromatography.

Application

As an adjunct to blood film microscopy for the diagnosis of malaria.

Testing is rapid and simpler to perform and interpret than thick and thin films, but is insufficiently sensitive to be used as a substitute.

Interpretation

The Plasmodium species that can be detected depend on the specific test used. Some tests detect only Plasmodium falciparum. For tests that detect more than one species, the sensitivity is not equal for all of the species. Mixed infections may be missed.

A positive result indicates malarial infection. However, positive results may persist for three or more weeks after successful therapy. False negatives occur. The test is not quantitative and cannot indicate the stages of malarial parasite present.

Reference

Wongsrichanalai C et al. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2003; 69: 26-30.

Iqbal J et al. J Clin Microbiol 2002; 40: 4675-4678.