Malaria rapid diagnostic tests

Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Jun;54(11):1637-41. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis228. Epub 2012 May 1.


Global efforts to control malaria are more complex than those for other infectious diseases, in part because of vector transmission, the complex clinical presentation of Plasmodium infections, >1 Plasmodium species causing infection, geographic distribution of vectors and infection, and drug resistance. The World Health Organization approach to global malaria control focuses on 2 components: vector control and diagnosis and treatment of clinical malaria. Although microscopy performed on peripheral blood smears remains the most widely used diagnostic test and the standard against which other tests are measured, rapid expansion of diagnostic testing worldwide will require use of other diagnostic approaches. This review will focus on the malaria rapid diagnostic test (MRDT) for detecting malaria parasitemia, both in terms of performance characteristics of MRDTs and how they are used under field conditions. The emphasis will be on the performance and use of MRDTs in regions of endemicity, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, where most malaria-related deaths occur.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / methods*
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / methods*
  • Humans
  • Malaria / diagnosis*
  • Parasitemia / diagnosis
  • Parasitology / methods