Volume 87, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Rapid diagnostics tests (RDTs) detect malaria specific antigen(s) in the circulation, even when parasites are sequestered in the placenta and not visible by microscopy. However, research on their diagnostic accuracy during pregnancy is limited. Pregnant women (n = 418) were screened for malaria during routine antenatal care by using two RDTs that detect histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) or lactate dehydrogenase, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays with antibodies that detect dihydrofolate reductase–thymidylate synthase or heme-detoxification protein, and compared with real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and microscopy for evaluation of their diagnostic accuracy. Prevalence of malaria infection was high (53% by PCR). The RT-PCR and the HRP2 RDT detected most cases of malaria during pregnancy, whereas microscopy, the lactate dehydrogenase RDT, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for dihydrofolate reductase–thymidylate synthase and heme-detoxification protein antibodies did not detect several low-density infections. Therefore, the HRP2 RDT could be a useful tool in high-transmission areas for diagnosis of malaria in asymptomatic pregnant women.


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  • Received : 23 Feb 2012
  • Accepted : 07 May 2012

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