Exams and Tests
thick and thin blood smears to find out whether
malaria-causing parasites are in your blood.
These tests should be done if you have been in a region where malaria is present,
you were exposed to mosquitoes, and you have flu-like symptoms.
- A blood smear is prepared from a blood
- If the first blood smear does not show the presence of
malaria parasites but your doctor suspects malaria, you should have a repeat
test every 8 to 12 hours for 36 hours.
- During treatment, doctors
use blood smears to see whether the number of malaria parasites in the blood is
A blood test that can diagnose malaria rapidly also is available. If this rapid test indicates a person has malaria, the results are usually confirmed with a blood smear.
Other useful tests that may be done
- Liver function tests, to check for liver
- Complete blood count (CBC), to check
anemia or evidence of other possible infections.
Anemia sometimes develops in people with malaria, because the parasites damage
red blood cells.
blood glucose test, to measure the amount of a type of
sugar, called glucose, in your blood.
Other tests being developed to diagnose malaria
include genetic tests or other blood tests that highlight parasites by using
special stains. These experimental tests are not as easy to do and are not as
frequently used as blood smears.
In the United
States, malaria is an infectious disease that must be reported to the local or
state health department.