Toluidine blue: rapid and simple malaria parasite screening and species identification

  • Rupali Awale
  • Ratnaprabha Maji
  • Parag Patil
  • Raghavendra Lingiah
  • Ashok Kumar Mukhopadhyay
  • Subhadra Sharma
Keywords: Leishman stain, malaria, screening, toluidine blue stain


Malaria, a febrile illness mostly confined to the tropical countries is transmitted by bite of infected female Anopheles mosquito. In 2015 alone, 88% of the malaria burden and 90% deaths due to malaria were confined to the African and Asian countries. Although number of tests are available for rapid diagnosis and screening for malaria, peripheral blood smear examination remains the gold standard.  Leishman stain is recommended by WHO however herein we evaluate one of the alternative methods of staining which is simple and rapid. Fifty patients attending the various outpatient departments of the tertiary care hospital with fever and suspected to have malaria were selected. Two thin-air dried smears prepared from the peripheral venous blood from these subjects were stained by Leishman and Toluidine blue method. The findings of the slides by two independent qualified professionals were noted and the results were analyzed. A total of 14% (7/50) cases were diagnosed to have malaria. All the malaria cases which were positive in Leishman stain were also detected in Toluidine blue stain. Malarial parasites were clearly visible against the homogenously light green background in Toluidine blue. The detection of malarial parasite by Toluidine blue was quick, easy and  confirmative. Toluidine blue stained peripheral blood smear allows for easy  identification and speciation of malarial parasite at low magnification and in shorter
period of time.


Key words: Leishman stain, malaria, screening, toluidine blue stain


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eISSN: 1937-8688