Diagnosis of malaria parasitemia in children using a rapid diagnostic test
AbstractAim: This cross-sectional study was conducted to evaluate the diagnostic performance of a new rapid immunochromatographic test named “Paracheck pf” in the diagnosis of malaria in Nigerian children.
Materials and Methods: A total of 380 Nigerian children aged between 6 and 59 months who presented at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu with fever and no obvious focus of any other infection were consecutively recruited. Malaria parasitemia was determined using simple microscopy and “Paracheck pf”.
Results: “Paracheck pf” has the following diagnostic performance characteristics: Sensitivity of 82%, specificity of 91.5%, negative predictive value of 91.5%, positive predictive value of 82%, a strong positive correlation between parasite density and test sensitivity, and a detection limit of 397 parasites/ml.
Conclusions: The test is, therefore, recommended for the use in Nigerian children aged between 6 and 59 months in Enugu for the diagnosis of malaria, but negative results should be cautiously interpreted in infants because symptomatic malaria may occur in these children at parasite densities as low as 100/ml.