What are the BCSH recommendations for the lab diagnosis of malaria?

Updated: Jun 03, 2020
  • Author: Thomas E Herchline, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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The British Committee for Standards in Haematology revised its Guidelines for the Laboratory Diagnosis of Malaria, intended for use in the United Kingdom but also potentially applicable to other nonendemic areas. [11] Recommendations include the following:

  • Thick and thin films should be routinely used for malaria diagnosis; thick films should be stained with Giemsa or Field stain, thin films with Giemsa or Leishman stain
  • Two observers should examine thick films, with each viewing a minimum of 200 high-power fields; if the films are positive, the species should be determined through examination of a thin film
  • In cases of P falciparum or Plasmodium knowlesi infection, the percentage of parasitized cells or the number of parasites per microliter should be estimated
  • Rapid diagnostic tests for malarial antigen can be used on a supplementary basis when diagnosis is performed by inexperienced staff

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