Evaluation of the polymerase chain reaction analysis for diagnosis of falciparum malaria in Delhi, India

Nandwani, S.; Mathur, M.; Rawat, S.
July 2005
Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology;Jul2005, Vol. 23 Issue 3, p176
Academic Journal
journal article
Plasmodium falciparum infections are frequently fatal if untreated and hence need to be diagnosed and treated early. Malaria diagnosis, with conventional Giemsa staining as a gold standard, has had several limitations. New rapid and accurate methods are needed for diagnosis. In this study, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis specific for diagnosis of P. falciparum was evaluated. For the study, blood samples were collected from 310 patients suspected of having malaria. PCR analysis for P. falciparum from venous blood and at the same time Giemsa staining of thick and thin blood smears was done. A total of 160 (51.6 %) samples were positive for malarial parasite of which 63 (39.4 %) were positive for P. falciparum by Giemsa staining while 61 (38.1 %) were positive for P. falciparum by PCR analysis. Giemsa staining was time consuming, laborious and may give poor results in cases with low parasitaemia. The PCR analysis for P. falciparum was able to detect 3 cases of low parasitaemia missed initially on Giemsa staining, was 96.8 % sensitive, 100% specific but was very costly, needed a lot of practice and standardization and was time consuming. PCR analysis can be used to supplement the conventional Giemsa staining for reliable diagnosis of falciparum malaria especially in cases with low parasitaemia.


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