Modern malaria diagnosis
Malaria should be suspected when a person has had possible malaria mosquito exposure, and presents with an illness that is almost always accompanied by fever.
Although fever and rigors are often thought by patients and doctors to be characteristic of the condition, other diseases that cause fever and rigors may make it impossible to determine whether the individual has malaria, another febrile illness, or possibly both at once.
Five species of Plasmodia cause human malaria – P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae and P. knowlesi (‘monkey malaria’).
The gold standard for malaria diagnosis is light microscopy examination of stained thick and thin blood films.
In the thick film, a larger volume of blood is examined, and the microscopist examines many layers of blood on the slide. This technique is about 10 times more sensitive than the thin