|Values are valid only on day of printing.|
Updated: June 2013
Published: June 2011
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites in the genus Plasmodium. It is transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitoes, which are found worldwide. The 4 main species causing human malaria are Plasmodium falciparum (the deadliest species), Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium vivax, and Plasmodium malariae. A fifth species, Plasmodium knowlesi (pronounced nolls-eye) is now recognized as an important cause of human disease in Southeast Asia. This species is responsible for up to 75% of malaria infections in some areas, and has been transmitted to travelers from the United States, Sweden, Spain, France, Australia, and New Zealand.
Mayo Clinic’s Malaria Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test now detects and differentiates the fifth human malaria species, Plasmodium knowlesi. This species is often misidentified by blood smear morphology due to its resemblance to Plasmodium malariae, a less virulent species.
NOTE: All specimens with a positive malaria PCR result receive a blood smear for determination of percent parasitemia.