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Plasmodium (Blood)

Does this test have other names?

Malaria antibody detection

What is this test?

This test looks for Plasmodium parasites in your blood. The parasites cause malaria, a serious disease that can be fatal if left untreated.

You can get the parasites if you are bitten by an infected mosquito. Malaria is common in most of the topics, including countries in South Asia, the South Pacific, parts of Central and South America, and areas of Africa.

This test may also be able to tell which type of Plasmodium parasite is causing your infection. Different types of Plasmodium parasites can cause different symptoms. Some types, particularly P. falciparum, can be more serious than others.

Why do I need this test?

You may have this test if you've been to an area where malaria is common and now have symptoms of the disease. Typically, symptoms appear 10 days to a month after infection. Symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Chills

  • Sweating

  • Body aches

  • Headaches

You may also need this test when donating blood to make sure your blood is safe. You may also have this test if you have an unexplained fever and it's possible that you have malaria, even if other tests for malaria were negative.

What other tests might I have along with this test?

You may also have a rapid diagnosis test for malaria. In some cases, you may need other blood tests to check for complications that malaria can cause. Your healthcare provider will probably order:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)

  • Blood chemistry that looks at electrolytes, and kidney and liver function

What do my test results mean?

Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your healthcare provider.

A normal test is negative, meaning that you don't have any Plasmodium parasites in your blood. A positive result means that you have the parasites in your blood and that you may have malaria.

How is this test done?

The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your arm.

Does this test pose any risks?

Taking a blood sample with a needle carries risks that include bleeding, infection, bruising, or feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks your arm, you may feel a slight stinging sensation or pain. Afterward, the site may be slightly sore.

What might affect my test results?

Having the test too soon after infection may give a false-negative result.

How do I get ready for this test?

You don't need to prepare for this test. But be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use.   

Plasmodium (Blood) - WellSpan Health

Author: Rodriguez, Diana
Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Snyder, Mandy, APRN
Last Review Date: 2015-08-29T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2015-10-06T00:00:00
Published Date: 2015-10-06T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2012-05-30T00:00:00
© 2015 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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