Use of the Parasight-F diagnostic test for imported malaria in a travel clinic.

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  • 1 Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, H pital Bichat-Claude Bernard, Paris, France.

The Parasight-F test based on the detection of a soluble antigen specific for Plasmodium falciparum is designed for the immediate diagnosis of malaria infection. We evaluated its use by clinicians during consultations. This prospective study of its diagnostic utility in febrile patients consulting a travel clinic on their return from areas endemic for malaria was conducted between May 1996 and May 1997. The Parasight-F test was performed by the clinician with confirmation by means of standard microscopic examination of venous blood. One-hundred and forty patients were enrolled. Forty-three (31%) cases of malaria were identified by microscopic examination. Thirty-eight were due to P. falciparum. The Parasight-F tests yielded 6 false-positive and 3 false-negative results compared to the microscopic findings. The specificity and sensitivity for the diagnosis of P. falciparum malaria were 94% and 92%. These results show that the Parasight-F test alone cannot replace microscopic diagnosis of malaria in travel clinics.