Two surveys were made in people living in a malaria-endemic area in West Thailand in October 1985 (a transmission season) and in May 1986 (a nontransmission season) to detect Plasmodium falciparum antigen using the immunoradiometric assay (IRMA). In the first survey involving 101 people, the IRMA-positive rate was 56.4% and then significantly declined to 16.5% during the second survey involving 79 people of the same group. The parasitological-positive rates were likewise decreased from 11.9% to 1.3% (P = 0.015) during these two seasons. IRMA-positive rates were significantly higher than the corresponding parasitological-positive rates (P < 0.0001 and 0.002 for the first and the second surveys, respectively). The geometric mean IRMA binding activity of samples collected in the first survey (1,726 cpm) was significantly higher than those collected during the second survey (920 cpm, P = 0.001). Regression analysis showed that IRMA activities were linearly correlated with the parasite counts by microscopic examination (r = 0.629, P = 0.022). IRMA was specific for P. falciparum since all 30 healthy controls and 6 of 7 vivax malaria cases were negative.