Test Detail
Interpreting Results

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Written by
Dr. Shreya Gupta
BDS, MDS - Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
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Dr. Ashish Ranjan
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
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Peripheral Smear for Malaria

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This test is for
Male, Female
Test Preparation
  1. A copy of valid government-issued identification card with the address is required.


What is Peripheral Smear for Malaria?

Peripheral smear for malaria is done to detect the presence of malarial parasites in the blood. Malaria is an infectious disease that is caused by species of the Plasmodium parasite. This test is usually done to diagnose malaria and to monitor the treatment of malaria.

This is the most simple and accurate test for studying malarial parasites. It is a microscopic test where the peripheral blood smear provides comprehensive information on the species, stages, and density of parasitemia. Usually, thick smears help in detecting the presence of parasites while thin smears help to detect the different species of parasites.

Malaria can often be prevented by the use of protection measures against mosquitoes bites which includes use of mosquito repellants, spraying insecticides and wearing long-sleeved clothes.

Why is Peripheral Smear for Malaria done?

  • To diagnose malaria

  • To monitor the treatment of malaria

What does Peripheral Smear for Malaria Measure?

Peripheral smear for Malaria is done to detect the presence of the malarial parasite in the blood. It is also used to monitor the treatment of malaria. Once the treatment of malaria is started, the doctor may advise re-test to monitor the treatment. A drop of blood is spread thinly on the glass slide and then studied under a microscope to examine the blood cells. The diagnosis is made by spotting out the parasite of malaria or its antigens or its products in the smear. Thick smears help to detect the presence of parasite while thin smears help to detect the type of species of parasite. Thin smears help in evaluating the presence of schizonts (stage of the malarial parasite with the presence of many small nuclei), gametocytes (stage of malarial parasite where it can produce more gametes) and presence of any pigmentation due to the malarial parasite in the blood. 

Interpreting Peripheral Smear for Malaria results


Positive results indicate the presence of the malarial parasite in peripheral blood examination.

Negative results indicate that no malarial parasite is seen on peripheral blood examination.

Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Peripheral Smear for Malaria

Frequently Asked Questions about Peripheral Smear for Malaria

Q. Is there any risk associated with this test?
There is no risk associated with the test. However, since this test involves a needle prick to withdraw the blood sample, in very rare cases, a patient may experience increased bleeding, hematoma formation (blood collection under the skin), bruising or infection at the site of needle prick.
Q. Do negative results mean that malaria is not there?
No, negative results do not confirm that malaria is not present. These negative results might be due to the absence of malarial parasite in the prepared peripheral blood film. In such cases, your doctor may advise you a re-test if the symptoms of malaria persist.
Q. How does malaria spread in the body?
Malaria spreads through the bite of a female anopheles mosquito. When the female anopheles mosquito bites the humans, the parasites of malaria get transferred to the humans and they reach the liver. Once the infection is inside the body, the parasite takes a week to a month to enter the red blood cells (RBCs) in humans. In the RBCs, they multiply within 2-3 days and produce symptoms of malaria.
Q. Can Malaria occur through only by the bite of female anopheles mosquito?
No, it is not necessary that malaria can also be caused by the bite of the female anopheles mosquito. Malaria can also occur after an organ transplant, by sharing needles or syringes, or after blood transfusion.
Q. What is Malaria?
It is an infectious disease which is caused by a species of Plasmodium. These parasites spread through the bite of the female anopheles mosquito. The species of Plasmodium that infect humans include Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malariae, and Plasmodium falciparum.
Q. What are the symptoms of Malaria?
The symptoms of malaria include chills, high fever, heavy sweating, nausea, vomiting, headache, pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, and pain in muscles.
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