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Malaria Research and Treatment
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 308069, 5 pages
Research Article

Assessment of Clinical Diagnosis, Microscopy, Rapid Diagnostic Tests, and Polymerase Chain Reaction in the Diagnosis of Plasmodium falciparum in Nigeria

1Department of Medical Microbiology & Parasitology, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, PMB 4400, Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria
2Department of Biomedical Science, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, PMB 4400, Osogbo, Nigeria
3Department of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Osun State University, PMB 4494, Osogbo, Nigeria

Received 3 June 2013; Revised 29 September 2013; Accepted 30 September 2013

Academic Editor: Neena Valecha

Copyright © 2013 Olusola Ojurongbe et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study compares the performance of clinical diagnosis and three laboratory diagnostic methods (thick film microscopy (TFM), rapid diagnostic test (RDT), and polymerase chain reaction (PCR)) for the diagnosis of Plasmodium falciparum in Nigeria. Using clinical criteria, 217 children were recruited into the study out of which 106 (48.8%) were positive by TFM, 84 (38.7%) by RDT, and 125 (57.6%) by PCR. Using a composite reference method generated from the three diagnostic methods, 71 (32.7%) patients were found to be truly infected and 90 (41.5%) truly uninfected, while 56 (25.8%) were misidentified as infected or noninfected. When each of the 3 diagnostic methods was compared with the composite reference, PCR had sensitivity of 97.3%, specificity of 62.5%, positive predictive value (PPV) of 56.8%, and negative predictive value (NPV) of 97.8%; microscopy had sensitivity of 77.2%, specificity of 72%, PPV of 66.9%, and NPV of 81.1%, while RDT had sensitivity of 62.3%, specificity of 87.4%, PPV of 67.7%, and NPV of 84.5%. PCR test performed best among the three methods followed by TFM and RDT in that order. The result of this study shows that clinical diagnosis cannot be relied upon for accurate diagnosis of P. falciparum in endemic areas.