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Diagnosis of Gestational, Congenital, and Placental Malaria in Colombia: Comparison of the Efficacy of Microscopy, Nested Polymerase Chain Reaction, and Histopathology

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  • Grupo Salud y Comunidad, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia
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The technical capability of different methods to diagnose Plasmodium in maternal peripheral blood, placenta, and umbilical cord blood has not been assessed in Colombia and seldom explored in other malaria-endemic regions. We designed a study to compare the technical and the operational-economical performances of light microscopy (LM), nested polymerase chain reaction (nPCR), and histopathology (HP). In maternal blood, LM had 41% sensitivity and 100% specificity and in placental blood, 35% and 100%, respectively, compared with nPCR. In placental tissue, LM had 33% sensitivity and 95% specificity; and nPCR 47% and 77%, respectively; compared with HP. Light microscopy had the best operational-economical qualification. We concluded that nPCR and HP performed better compared with LM, but field implementation of these two techniques remains a problem. Therefore, LM is recommended as the gold standard for diagnosis of gestational malaria and placental blood infection in the field.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Amanda Maestre, Grupo Salud y Comunidad, Universidad de Antioquia, Carrera 51D N° 62-29, Medellín, Colombia. E-mail: aemaestre@gmail.com

Financial support: Colciencias (codes 1115-04-17041 and 111540820495; contracts RC-316-2004 and RC 238-2007), Dirección Seccional de Salud de Antioquia (DSSA), and Universidad de Antioquia Estrategia de Sostenibilidad 2009–2010.

Authors' addresses: Ivón M. Campos, Mary L. Uribe, Carolina Cuesta, Alexander Franco-Gallego, Jaime Carmona-Fonseca, and Amanda Maestre, Grupo Salud y Comunidad, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia, E-mails: ivoncampos@gmail.com, umaryluz@gmail.com, carocuesta@gmail.com, alexanderfra16@gmail.com, jaimecarmonaf@hotmail.com, and aemaestre@gmail.com.

Reprint requests: Amanda Maestre, Grupo Salud y Comunidad, Universidad de Antioquia, Carrera 51D N° 62-29, Medellín, Colombia, Tel: 57-4-2196024, Fax: 57-4-2196487, E-mail: aemaestre@gmail.com.

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