Twenty two of the most recent textbooks on tropical medicine, parasitology, hematology and laboratory methods (1–22) have been examined as to the manner in which they present the subject of the diagnosis of malaria. With three (7, 5, 17) notable exceptions, all, either directly or by implication, deal with the diagnosis of malaria on the basis of the findings in stained thin blood smears. In this respect, they are little different from the section of malaria by Marchiafava and Bignami in 1900 (27), whose illustrations need only modern color printing to rival those of the present day.
These books suggest that the recognition of certain particular forms of the parasites in thin blood smears is the only sure method of diagnosis and imply that thick film methods are only for the expert and for surveys.
Department of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, The Tulane University of Louisiana.