Author(s): Long EG
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Abstract The rapid increase of resistance to cheap, reliable antimalarials, the increasing cost of effective drugs, and the low specificity of clinical diagnosis has increased the need for more reliable diagnostic methods for malaria. The most commonly used and most reliable remains microscopic examination of stained blood smears, but this technique requires skilled personnel, precision instruments, and ideally a source of electricity. Microscopy has the advantage of enabling the examiner to identify the species, stage, and density of an infection. An alternative to microscopy is the rapid diagnostic test (RDT), which uses a labeled monoclonal antibody to detect circulating parasitic antigens. This test is most commonly used to detect Plasmodium falciparum infections and is available in a plastic cassette format. Both microscopy and RDTs should be available at all levels of laboratory service in endemic areas, but in peripheral laboratories with minimally trained staff, the RDT may be a more practical diagnostic method.
This article was published in Am J Clin Pathol
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals