Plasmodium malariae in the Colombian Amazon region: you don’t diagnose what you don’t suspect
The present study evaluates the performance of OptiMAL-IT test and nested PCR assay in detection of malaria parasites. A total of 76 randomly selected blood samples collected from two malaria endemic areas were tested for malaria parasites using microscopy and OptiMAL-IT test in the field. PCR assays were performed in the laboratory using DNA extracted from blood spots of the same samples collected on the FTA classic cards. Of the total of 61 field confirmed malaria positive samples, only 58 (95%) were detected positive using microscopy in the laboratory. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value and false discovery rate of OptiMal-IT in comparison to the microscopy were 93%, 83%, 95%, 79% and 5%, respectively. On the other hand, the sensitivity and specificity of PCR assay were 97% and 100%, respectively, whereas positive predictive value, negative predictive value and false discovery rate were 100%, 90% and 0%, respectively. The overall performance of OptiMal-IT and PCR assays for malaria diagnosis was 76% and 97%, respectively. PCR assay enabled the identification of infection with Plasmodium malariae Laveran, 1881 in four samples misidentified by microscopy and Plasmodium-specific antigen (PAN) identified by the OptiMAL-IT test. In addition to the standard methods, such PCR assay could be useful to obtain the real incidence of each malaria parasite species for epidemiological perspectives.