A semi-nested, multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based on the amplification of the sequences of the 18S small subunit ribosomal RNA (ssrRNA) gene was tested in a field trial in Equatorial Guinea (a hyperendemic focus of malaria in west central Africa). The method uses a primary PCR amplification reaction with a universal reverse primer and two forward primers specific for the genus Plasmodium and to mammals (the mammalian-specific primer was included as a positive control to distinguish uninfected cases from inhibition of the PCR). The second amplification is carried out with the same Plasmodium genus-specific forward primer and four specific reverse primers for each human Plasmodium species. The PCR amplified products are differentiated by fragment size after electrophoresis on a 2% agarose gel. Four villages from three regions of the island of Bioko (Equatorial Guinea) and two suspected Plasmodium vivax-P. ovale infections from the hospital of Malabo were tested by microscopy and PCR. The PCR method showed greater sensitivity and specificity than microscopic examination and confirmed the existence of a focus of P. vivax infections in Equatorial Guinea suspected by microscopic examination. It also provided evidence of several mixed infections, mainly P. falciparum and P. malariae, the two predominant species causing malaria in Equatorial Guinea.