Volume 85, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



This study determines the use of nested PCR as a diagnostic tool to supplement field microscopy in symptomatic individuals suspected of being positive for malaria, and it explores its role in active case detection to identify asymptomatic parasite carriers. In symptomatic individuals, compared with PCR, microscopy had a sensitivity of 86.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 77.8–92.4) and specificity of 100% (95% CI = 96.9–100). During active case detection, two asymptomatic persons were diagnosed as having vivax malaria by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) but not microscopy. Currently, PCR is being carried out in Sri Lanka only for population surveys to estimate the hidden reservoir of malaria. Based on the results of this study and because of cost considerations, pooled PCR will be used in the future to screen samples from clinically suspected foci to increase the proportion of malaria cases detected. This strategy will assist the success of the malaria elimination program in Sri Lanka.


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  • Received : 12 Jun 2010
  • Accepted : 27 Mar 2011
  • Published online : 01 Jul 2011

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