Diagnosis of malaria in remote areas with inadequate medical and diagnostic capabilities is a formidable challenge. Malaria is usually diagnosed by blood film examination, a tedious procedure dependent on the availability of a microscope and highly trained microscopists. We evaluated a rapid 15 min. malaria detection test, the OptiMAL (Flow Inc, Portland, OR), which diagnoses and speciates malaria via detection of an enzyme, parasite lactate dehydrogenase, present in the peripheral blood of those infected with the parasite. In previous studies in Honduras, we evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of the OptiMAL and found it to be comparable with microscopy. This current study was completed in the Amazon area of Guyana, We evaluated the OptiMAL on symptomatic individuals living in isolated villages, on gold miners living in tent encampments, and in Amerindians living in an area only accessible by boat. Results showed that the test was effective in both diagnosing and speciating malaria infections and in establishing patterns of infection attributed to falciparum and vivax malaria. Speciation of malaria parasites is important because falciparum and vivax malaria require different antimalarial treatment regiments and to determine health risk as falciparum malaria can cause greater morbidity/mortality. In conclusion, integrating rapid test formats that do not require extensive equipment or health care personnel can provide a valuable strategy for disease surveillance and management
Learning Objectives: to learn about the distribution of malaria in the Amazon region of Guyana
Keywords: Emerging Health Issues, Epidemiology
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA