Volume 88, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Exclusion of malaria traditionally requires three negative serial thick and thin blood films. However, many clinical laboratories now routinely perform rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) in addition to blood films when malaria is suspected. We sought to determine whether serial testing is necessary in this setting. We examined 388 cases of malaria diagnosed during 1999–2010 at three laboratories in Melbourne, Australia. For each case, we ascertained whether the diagnosis was made on initial or follow-up testing. Nine cases (3.5%) were diagnosed after a negative initial blood film and RDT: 7 , 1 , and 1 . Of four case-patients with in which clinical data were available, all had recent exposure to antimalarial medication. Our data suggest that among patients who have not received recent anti-malarial therapy, and when RDTs are performed and blood films are prepared, most malaria diagnoses are made by using the first set of tests.


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  • Received : 30 Oct 2011
  • Accepted : 22 Aug 2012
  • Published online : 09 Jan 2013

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