Effective June 1, 2016, Malaria testing will be updated. Recommended first line testing for suspected malaria is called Malaria Rapid Screen which is a combination of a rapid BinaxNow test in Hematology and a blood smear review in Microbiology. The BinaxNow test has a reported sensitivity of 97.7% and specificity of 94.2% for detection of P. falciparum species if a patient has a parasitemia level of over 5000 parasites/uL; sensitivity is lower for other malaria species. The BinaxNow test is not reported to cross react with babesia species. BinaxNow testing will be available for all shifts in Hematology at the Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory. The specimen requirements are unchanged from previous malaria testing. Previous test “Malaria Smear for Protozoa” will be discontinued.
If a patient has a positive Malaria Rapid Screen, a parasitemia level will be counted and reported automatically. For patients with known malaria or babesia infection for whom organism burden is being monitored, a follow-up test called Parasitemia Level will now be available.
Questions regarding malaria testing can be directed to Dr. Deborah Blue or Dr. Jennifer Stumph in the Department of Pathology.