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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Parasitology Case Studies: Protozoa in Blood (by ASCLS). Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Rapid Diagnostic Test

  • Patient's blood is applied to the sample pad on the test card
  • Reagents are added
  • After 15 minutes, specific bands in the test card window indicate whether the patient is infected with P. falciparum or one of the other 3 species
  • Detects HRP2 which is specific to Plasmodium falciparum
  • Detects a malaria aldolase found in all four species
  • Therefore, can only identify P. falciparum to the species level--p.f. on the cassette
  • Cannot distinguish between Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, or Plasmodium malariae or detect mixed infections--p.v. on the cassette
  • Lower concentrations of parasites cannot be detected so all negative RDTs should have thick and thin smears performed
  • Thin smears are also necessary to determine the correct species of malaria and the level of parasitemia