Short communication: Comparison of the OptiMAL rapid test and microscopy for detection of malaria in pregnant women in Nigeria


T. A. VanderJagt, J. Belmonte, R. H. Glew, D. J. VanderJagt (corresponding author), Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, MSC08 4670, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM, 87131-0001, USA. E-mail:;;
E. I. Ikeh, Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Jos, PMB 2084, Jos, Nigeria. E-mail:
I. O. A. Ujah, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Jos University Teaching Hospital, PMB 2076, Jos, Nigeria. E-mail:


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.