We screened for malaria in 594 blood samples from febrile patients who tested negative by a Plasmodium falciparum-specific histidine-rich protein-2-based rapid diagnostic test at 12 health facilities in Zanzibar districts North A and Micheweni, from May to August 2010. Screening was with microscopy, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting the cytochrome b gene (cytbPCR) of the four major human malaria species, and quantitative PCR (qPCR). The prevalence of cytbPCR-detectable malaria infection was 2% (12 of 594), including 8 P. falciparum, 3 Plasmodium malariae, and 1 Plasmodium vivax infections. Microscopy identified 4 of 8 P. falciparum infections. Parasite density as estimated by microscopy or qPCR was > 4,000 parasites/mL in 5 of 8 cytbPCR-detectable P. falciparum infections. The infections that were missed by the rapid diagnostic test represent a particular challenge in malaria elimination settings and highlight the need for more sensitive point-of-care diagnostic tools to improve case detection of all human malaria species in febrile patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases