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Keywords:

  • malaria;
  • pregnancy;
  • Nigeria;
  • OptiMAL assay;
  • microscopy;
  • P. falciparum

Summary

Malaria during pregnancy causes anaemia in pregnant women and low birthweight in infants. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the OptiMAL rapid malaria test in comparison with standard microscopy for malaria diagnosis in 268 pregnant women attending antenatal clinics at the Jos University Teaching Hospital and the Federal Medical Centre-Gombe in Nigeria. Positive results by either method were confirmed using a polymerase chain reaction assay for malaria. Although the OptiMAL assay did not detect malaria in the blood of pregnant women with low levels of parasitaemia, it may be useful for the detection of placental malaria which predisposes to low birthweight infants.