by Lynn S Garcia, MS, CLS, FAAM - Director, LSG & Associates - Santa Monica, CA

Approved for 2.0 CE
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate


Malaria is an ancient human disease, with fatal periodic fevers discussed as early as 2700 BC in Egyptian and Chinese writings. Infections with Plasmodium spp were documented in Rome by 200 BC, spread throughout Europe during the twelfth century, and arrived in England by the fourteenth century. European explorers, conquistadors, and colonists probably imported Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium vivax to the Americas. The arrival of Plasmodium falciparum coincided with the importation of African slaves, and by the early 1800s malaria was found worldwide.

Malaria has had a greater impact on world history than any other infectious disease including the outcome of wars, population movements, and the rise and fall of various nations. Before the American Civil War, malaria was found as far north as southern Canada; however, by the early 1950s it was no longer an endemic disease within the United States. More than 300 to 500 million individuals worldwide are infected with Plasmodium spp, and 1.5 to 2.7 million people a year, most of whom are children, die from the infection. Malaria is endemic in over 90 countries with an approximate population of 2.4 billion people; this represents nearly 40% of the world’s population. About 90% of the malaria deaths occur in Africa. Despite continuing efforts in vaccine development, malaria prevention is difficult, and no drug is universally effective.


Upon completion of this course, the participant will be able to:

  • Discuss the symptomatic differences seen in immunologically naïve patients compared with those from endemic areas with past exposure to malaria.
  • Outline the patient history information required for the Clinical Laboratory Scientist to perform diagnostic testing with the best and most relevant diagnostic results outcome.
  • Describe the steps required for STAT testing recommended for the diagnosis of malaria infections.
  • Outline appropriate procedures for the laboratory identification of malaria.
  • Discuss the pros and cons for the FDA-approved rapid test for malaria.
  • Differentiate among the five species of human malaria, including potential difficulties associated with morphologic identification to the species level.
  • Describe appropriate report comments designed to provide the physician with the most relevant patient information.


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