Volume 86, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



We identified 480 persons with positive thick smears for asexual parasites, of whom 454 had positive rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for the histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) product of the gene and 26 had negative tests. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification for the histidine-rich repeat region of that gene was negative in one-half (10/22) of false-negative specimens available, consistent with spontaneous deletion. False-negative RDTs were found only in persons with asymptomatic infections, and multiplicities of infection (MOIs) were lower in persons with false-negative RDTs (both < 0.001). These results show that parasites that fail to produce HRP2 can cause patent bloodstream infections and false-negative RDT results. The importance of these observations is likely to increase as malaria control improves, because lower MOIs are associated with false-negative RDTs and false-negative RDTs are more frequent in persons with asymptomatic infections. These findings suggest that the use of HRP2-based RDTs should be reconsidered.


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  • Received : 24 Nov 2010
  • Accepted : 01 Oct 2011
  • Published online : 01 Feb 2012

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