Over-diagnosis of malaria is not a lost cause.

Masika, PM; Semarundu, WJ; Urassa, R; Mosha, J; Chandramohan, D; Gosling, RD; (2006) Over-diagnosis of malaria is not a lost cause. Malar J, 5. p. 120. ISSN 1475-2875 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-5-120

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BACKGROUND: Recent studies have highlighted the over-diagnosis of malaria in clinical settings in Africa. This study assessed the impact of a training programme implemented as part of an intervention trial on diagnostic behaviour of clinicians in a rural district hospital in a low-moderate malaria transmission setting. METHODS: From the beginning of 2005, a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in infants (IPTi) has been conducted at the study hospital. As part of the RCT, the study team offered laboratory quality assurance, and supervision and training of paediatric ward staff using information on malaria epidemiology in the community. Data on clinical and blood slide confirmed cases of malaria from 2001 to 2005 were extracted from the hospital records. RESULTS: The proportion of blood slides positive for malaria parasites had decreased from 21% in 2001 to 7% in 2005 (p < .01). The proportion of outpatient and inpatient cases diagnosed as malaria ranged between 34% and 28% from 2001 to 2004 and this decreased substantially to 17% after the introduction of the package of training and support in 2005 (p < .01). There was no clear trend in the ratio of blood slide examined versus total diagnosis of malaria. CONCLUSION: It may be possible to change the diagnostic behaviour of clinicians by rigorous training using local malaria epidemiology data and supportive supervision.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
Research Centre: Malaria Centre
PubMed ID: 17166271
Web of Science ID: 242991200002
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/10668


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