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Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2002 Jan;96(1):15-8.

Multicentre study, in patients with imported malaria, on the sensitivity and specificity of a dipstick test (ICT Malaria P.f./P.v.) compared with expert microscopy.

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  • 1Laboratory of Parasitology, Virology Service, IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy


A prospective, multicentre study was carried out in Italy to assess the sensitivity and specificity of a rapid dipstick test (ICT Malaria P.f./P.v.) in the diagnosis of imported malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum and other Plasmodium spp. The test is based on the detection of histidine-rich protein-2 (HRP-2) from P. falciparum and 'panmalarial' antigen in peripheral blood. The 241 subjects were international travellers or immigrants from areas where malaria is endemic. When compared with the microscopical examination of bloodsmears (used as the 'gold standard'), the dipsticks were found to be 94.4% sensitive and 94.5% specific for pure infections with P. falciparum. The performance of the tests when used on patients infected with species other than P. falciparum or more than one Plasmodium spp. showed a high degree of variability. Although the dipsticks represent a very simple, rapid, and valuable diagnostic aid, they should not be considered a complete substitute for direct microscopical diagnosis using stained bloodsmears.

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