Although the Giemsa-stained thick blood smear (GTS) remains the gold standard for the diagnosis of malaria, molecular methods are more sensitive and specific to detect parasites and can be used at reference centers to evaluate the performance of microscopy. The description of the Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae and P. ovale ssrRNA gene sequences allowed the development of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that had been used to differentiate the four species. The objective of this study was to determine Plasmodium species through PCR in 190 positive smears from patients in order to verify the quality of diagnosis at SUCEN's Malaria Laboratory. Considering only the 131 positive results in both techniques, GTS detected 4.6% of mixed and 3.1% of P. malariae infections whereas PCR identified 19.1% and 13.8%, respectively.
Malaria; Diagnosis; Plasmodium; PCR; ssrRNA; Thick blood smear