Image analysis approach for development of a decision support system for detection of malaria parasites in thin blood smear images

J Digit Imaging. 2012 Aug;25(4):542-9. doi: 10.1007/s10278-011-9442-6.


This paper describes development of a decision support system for diagnosis of malaria using color image analysis. A hematologist has to study around 100 to 300 microscopic views of Giemsa-stained thin blood smear images to detect malaria parasites, evaluate the extent of infection and to identify the species of the parasite. The proposed algorithm picks up the suspicious regions and detects the parasites in images of all the views. The subimages representing all these parasites are put together to form a composite image which can be sent over a communication channel to obtain the opinion of a remote expert for accurate diagnosis and treatment. We demonstrate the use of the proposed technique for use as a decision support system by developing an android application which facilitates the communication with a remote expert for the final confirmation on the decision for treatment of malaria. Our algorithm detects around 96% of the parasites with a false positive rate of 20%. The Spearman correlation r was 0.88 with a confidence interval of 0.838 to 0.923, p<0.0001.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Azure Stains
  • Coloring Agents
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Malaria / blood*


  • Azure Stains
  • Coloring Agents