Send to

Choose Destination
Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2012 Apr;2(4):307-10. doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60029-X.

A comparative laboratory diagnosis of malaria: microscopy versus rapid diagnostic test kits.

Author information

Department of Pharmacology, Anambra State University, Uli, Anambra State, Nigeria.



To compare the two methods of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and microscopy in the diagnosis of malaria.


RDTs and microscopy were carried out to diagnose malaria. Percentage malaria parasitaemia was calculated on thin films and all non-acute cases of plasmodiasis with less than 0.001% malaria parasitaemia were regarded as negative. Results were simply presented as percentage positive of the total number of patients under study. The results of RDTs were compared to those of microscopy while those of RDTs based on antigen were compared to those of RDTs based on antibody. Patients' follow-up was made for all cases.


All the 200 patients under present study tested positive to RDTs based on malaria antibodies (serum) method (100%). 128 out of 200 tested positive to RDTs based on malaria antigen (whole blood) method (64%), while 118 out of 200 patients under present study tested positive to visual microscopy of Lieshman and diluted Giemsa (59%). All patients that tested positive to microscopy also tested positive to RDTs based on antigen. All patients on the second day of follow-up were non-febrile and had antimalaria drugs.


We conclude based on the present study that the RDTs based on malaria antigen (whole blood) method is as specific as the traditional microscopy and even appears more sensitive than microscopy. The RDTs based on antibody (serum) method is unspecific thus it should not be encouraged. It is most likely that Africa being an endemic region, formation of certain levels of malaria antibody may not be uncommon. The present study also supports the opinion that a good number of febrile cases is not due to malaria. We support WHO's report on cost effectiveness of RDTs but, recommend that only the antigen based method should possibly, be adopted in Africa and other malaria endemic regions of the world.


Antibody; Antigen; Antimalaria; Malaria; Malaria diagnosis; Microscopy; Parasitaemia; Plasmodiasis; Rapid diagnostic tests; Serum; Whole blood

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center