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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Comparative evaluation of two rapid field tests for malaria diagnosis: Partec Rapid Malaria Test® and Binax Now® Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test

Bernard Nkrumah1*, Samuel EK Acquah1, Lukeman Ibrahim1, Juergen May2, Norbert Brattig2, Egbert Tannich2, Samuel Blay Nguah3, Yaw Adu-Sarkodie4 and Frank Huenger15

Author Affiliations

1 Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, Kumasi, Ghana

2 Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany

3 Child Health Department, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana

4 Department of Clinical Microbiology, School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

5 Institute for Transfusion Medicine, Laboratory Medicine and Medical Microbiology, Dortmund, Germany

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2011, 11:143  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-143

Published: 23 May 2011

Abstract

Background

About 90% of all malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa occur in children under five years. Fast and reliable diagnosis of malaria requires confirmation of the presence of malaria parasites in the blood of patients with fever or history suggestive of malaria; hence a prompt and accurate diagnosis of malaria is the key to effective disease management. Confirmation of malaria infection requires the availability of a rapid, sensitive, and specific testing at an affordable cost. We compared two recent methods (the novel Partec Rapid Malaria Test® (PT) and the Binax Now® Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test (BN RDT) with the conventional Giemsa stain microscopy (GM) for the diagnosis of malaria among children in a clinical laboratory of a hospital in a rural endemic area of Ghana.

Methods

Blood samples were collected from 263 children admitted with fever or a history of fever to the pediatric clinic of the Agogo Presbyterian Hospital. The three different test methods PT, BN RDT and GM were performed independently by well trained and competent laboratory staff to assess the presence of malaria parasites. Results were analyzed and compared using GM as the reference standard.

Results

In 107 (40.7%) of 263 study participants, Plasmodium sp. was detected by GM. PT and BN RDT showed positive results in 111 (42.2%) and 114 (43.4%), respectively. Compared to GM reference standard, the sensitivities of the PT and BN RDT were 100% (95% CI: 96.6-100) and 97.2% (95% CI: 92.0-99.4), respectively, specificities were 97.4% (95% CI: 93.6-99.3) and 93.6% (95% CI: 88.5-96.9), respectively. There was a strong agreement (kappa) between the applied test methods (GM vs PT: 0.97; p < 0.001 and GM vs BN RDT: 0.90; p < 0.001). The average turnaround time per tests was 17 minutes.

Conclusion

In this study two rapid malaria tests, PT and BN RDT, demonstrated a good quality of their performance compared to conventional GM. Both methods require little training, have short turnaround times, are applicable as well as affordable and can therefore be considered as alternative diagnostic tools in malaria endemic areas. The species of Plasmodium cannot be identified.