Volume 68, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The OptiMAL test detects both and malaria infections. In this study, we evaluated the performance of the OptiMAL test at the Basic Health Units (BHUs) and the District Health Quarter (DHQ) Center in rural villages of Punjab, Pakistan that provide minimal health services. Two sets of blood specimens obtained from 930 suspected malaria patients attending these BHUs were tested at BHUs and the DHQ Center by microscopy and the OptiMAL test. At the BHUs, 231 (25%) of the patients were positive by microscopy and 278 (30%) patients tested positive by the OptiMAL test. At the DHQ Center, microscopic analysis of a second set of specimens from the same patients confirmed the malaria infection in 386 (42%) patients and the OptiMAL test result was positive in 300 (32%) patients. To determine the performance of OptiMAL test at the BHUs and the DHQ Center, all data were compared with microscopy results obtained at the DHQ Center. The OptiMAL test results for at the BHUs were comparable to those of the OptiMAL test at the DHQ Center. However, the sensitivity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of the OptiMAL test were considerably lower for infections than for infections, irrespective of whether the test was performed at the BHUs or at the DHQ Center (: sensitivity = 78–85%, PPV = 89–97%, NPV = 96–98%; : sensitivity = 61–76%, PPV = 88–95%, NPV = 90–93%). The OptiMAL test also detected a number of false-positive and false-negative results at both the BHUs and the DHQ Center. The false-positive results ranged from 1% to 2%; however, the number of false-negative results was much higher (BHUs: = 22%, = 39%; DHQ Center: = 15%, = 24%). In conclusion, these results, when combined with other advantages of the OptiMAL test, suggest that this test can be used by relatively inexperienced persons to diagnose malaria infection in rural areas where facilities for microscopy are not available.


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  • Received : 24 Aug 2002
  • Accepted : 23 Dec 2002

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