Author(s): Singh N, Mishra AK, Shukla MM, Chand SK, Bharti PK
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Malaria presents a diagnostic challenge in most tropical countries. Rapid detection of the malaria parasite and early treatment of infection still remain the most important goals of disease management. Therefore, performance characteristics of the new indigenous ParaHIT f test (Span diagnostic Ltd, Surat, India) was determined among ethnic tribal population in four districts of different transmission potential in central India to assess whether this rapid diagnostic test (RDT) could be widely applied as a diagnostic tool to control malaria. Beyond diagnosis, the logical utilization of RDTs is to monitor treatment outcome. METHODS: A finger prick blood sample was collected from each clinically suspected case of malaria to prepare blood smear and for testing with the RDT after taking informed consent. The blood smears were read by an experienced technician blinded to the RDT results and clinical status of the subjects. The figures for specificity, sensitivity, accuracy and predictive values were calculated using microscopy as gold standard. RESULTS: The prevalence of malaria infection estimated by RDT in parallel with microscopy provide evidence of the type of high, low or no transmission in the study area. Analysis revealed (pooled data of all four epidemiological settings) that overall sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of the RDT were >90\% in areas of different endemicity. While, RDT is useful to confirm the diagnosis of new symptomatic cases of suspected P. falciparum infection, the persistence of parasite antigen leading to false positives even after clearance of asexual parasitaemia has limited its utility as a prognostic tool. CONCLUSION: The study showed that the ParaHIT f test was easy to use, reliable and cheap. Thus this RDT is an appropriate test for the use in the field by paramedical staff when laboratory facilities are not available and thus likely to contribute greatly to an effective control of malaria in resource poor countries.
This article was published in BMC Infect Dis
and referenced in Journal of Bacteriology & Parasitology