UCSF Navigation Bar

UCSF Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Home Page

Lab Manual for UCSF Clinical Laboratories

Lab Manual for SFGH

Internal Resources

Click here for more information about laboratory operations and procedures

If you have additional questions regarding this test, please call: 415-353-1667

Search Our Test Menu

Malaria Smear

Item Value
Approval req'd? No
Available Stat? Yes, thin smear only
Test code P403M
Test group malaria
Performed by Microbiology, Parnassus & Mission Bay Hematology
In House Availability Stat: Daily, all shifts

Routine: Daily until 9:00 PM
Method Thick and thin Giemsa- or Wright's stained smears
Collection Instructions Deliver to lab within 1 hour of collection. If possible, samples from Moffitt-Long inpatients and ED should be walked directly to the STAT window in Clinical Lab Specimen Processing (5th floor Moffitt) by an attendant.

Order stat only if results required for immediate care decisions (e.g. patient extremely ill, potentially requiring admission or suspected of having cerebral malaria).

Note exact time of blood draw on sample and provide history of travel, residence, prophylaxis and/or therapy received before the specimen was obtained.

The optimal time to collect a specimen is midway between chills (before a fever spike is anticipated). If the first specimen is negative for malarial parasites, submit specimens q12-24h for 72 hours.
Container type Lavender top (Dark green top acceptable)
Amount to Collect 3 mL blood
Sample type EDTA whole blood (Heparinized acceptable)
Processing notes 07:00 - 23:30: Microbiology Lab staff in L553 will make thin and thick smears and send to Microbiology Lab at China Basin. For stat samples, one thin smear will be given to Hematology to stain and read.

23:30 - 07:00: Hematology will make thin and thick smears on routine and stat samples. One thin smear is stained and read if ordered stat. Forward smears to Microbiology in the morning.
Normal range Negative
Critical value Positive smear
Synonyms babesia; plasmodium sp; P. vivax; P. falciparum; P. malariae; P. ovale
Turn around times A preliminary report, based on the reading of one thin smear, is available within 2 hours for stats and 4-12 hours for routine samples. Thick smears are read Monday-Friday 0800-1500 hours only. Final report is sent after thick smears are read.
Additional information Will also detect Babesia species and Borrelia species

Delay in preparation of blood smears can decrease the sensitivity of the test.

Stats are read and a preliminary result is reported by Hematology. Stat examination of thick smears is NOT available.

For possible Babesiosis, see also entry under Babesia.
CPT coding 87207
LOINC code 32700-7
Last Updated 6/22/2016 12:25:54
Entry Number 639
UCSF home page UCSF home page About UCSF Search UCSF UCSF Medical Center