Contrary to our past beliefs we came to know that malaria slides should be taken during afebrile periods when RBCs remain intact, enabling easier diagnosis of malarial parasites. Is this true?
That is a very interesting question, which I passed on to a diagnostic expert who serves as an advisor to Malaria.com. His response is as follows:
Blood films should be collected from someone who is sick with a febrile illness after they have been in an area where malaria transmission occurs. That does not mean that the smears need to be collected during particular times during the fever cycle. If the first set of films is negative they should be repeated every 12-24 hours for a total of 3 sets. During that time period, in general, the parasitemia if present will be rising—increasing the likelihood of detection.
It is worth noting that blood films are of little to no value as a screening test of asymptomatic travelers.