Comparison of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and peripheral blood smear (PBS) for diagnosis of asymptomatic malaria parasitemia
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Objective: Microscopy of Giemsa-stained thick and thin peripheral blood smear (PBS) remains as the standard laboratory method for the diagnosis of symptomatic malaria. This study was done to compare PBS with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method for detecting asymptomatic malaria parasitemia. Patients and Method: Blood samples were collected from 900 asymptomatic school children between 7-11 years old in one of the provinces in the South of Iran. Results: All 900 students were negative for plasmodium vivax and plasmodium falciparum by PBS. PCR method detected DNA of P. vivax in 10 blood samples (1.1%). Specificity and negative predictive value of PCR method was respectively 98.89% (95%CI: 98.0-99.5%), 100% (95%CI: 99.6-100%) compared to PBS as the gold standard method. As there was no positive case by PBS method, calculation of sensitivity, positive predictive value and likelihood ratios of the PCR method was not possible. Conclusion: In comparison to PBS, expensive and prolongation PCR method is not suitable and cost effective for identification of malaria infection in asymptomatic.