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Evaluation of rapid diagnostic tests for malaria in Swedish travellers

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Bronner U, Karlsson L, Evengård B. Evaluation of rapid diagnostic tests for malaria in Swedish travellers. APMIS 2010; 119: 88–92.

Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria have become valuable tools for the diagnosis of malaria in both endemic and non-endemic areas. During a 7-year period, first the MalaQuick rapid test and then the NOW Malaria test, were evaluated by well-trained laboratory technicians in a university hospital laboratory of parasitology. A total of 635 blood samples were selected from 4731 blood specimens obtained from travellers at the emergency department, at wards and at out-patient clinics. The samples were analysed by microscopy and RDT. Malaria parasites were detected in the blood films of 134 (21%) samples. The sensitivity of the RDT for Plasmodium falciparum was 97.7% (84 of 86 samples) with a negative predictive value of 99.6%. The two false-negative results were associated with low levels of parasitaemia. For non-falciparum species the sensitivity was only 58.3% (28 of 48 samples). Based on the excellent ability of the RDTs to detect P. falciparum infections, we recommend the use of the NOW Malaria test as a complement to microscopy in the laboratory.

Keywords: Rapid testing; evaluation; malaria; travellers

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Infectious Diseases Unit, Department of Medicine Solna, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm 2: Laboratory of Parasitology, Department of Clinical Microbiology, Karolinska University Hospital Solna, Stockholm 3: Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Clinical Microbiology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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