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Test Catalog

Test ID: LCMAL    
Malaria, Molecular Detection, PCR Only

Specimen Type Describes the specimen type needed for testing


Specimen Required Defines the optimal specimen. This field describes the type of specimen required to perform the test and the preferred volume to complete testing. The volume allows automated processing, fastest throughput and, when indicated, repeat or reflex testing.

Blood and slides are required.


Forms: If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send 1 of the following forms with the specimen:

Microbiology Test Request Form (Supply T244) (

Neurology Test Request Form (T732) (


Specimen Type: Blood

Container/Tube: Lavender top (EDTA)

Specimen Volume: 4 mL

Collection Instructions:

1. Invert several times to mix blood.

2. Do not transfer blood to other containers. Send specimen in original tube.

Additional Information:

1. This test is not performed on a STAT basis and, therefore, should not be used as a primary screening test for malaria.

2. This test is used primarily for confirmation of a presumptive malaria diagnosis and determination of infecting Plasmodium species–particularly when the parasite morphology on traditional blood films is suboptimal.

3. Clients in the Rochester, MN area who are seeking a primary test for malaria and who can deliver the specimen within 4 hours of collection should order the MAL / Malaria/Babesia Smear.

4. Laboratories that are unable to deliver a specimen within 4 hours of collection should perform an initial screen for malaria and other blood parasites in their laboratory prior to sending a specimen to Mayo Medical Laboratories.

5. This test does not include blood smear examination/calculation of parasitemia. If calculation of percent parasitemia is also desired for cases that are PCR positive for Plasmodium species, clients should order LMALP / Malaria with Percent Parasitemia Reflex, Molecular Detection, PCR.  


Specimen Type: Blood films

Container/Tube: Clean, grease-free slides in plastic slide container

Specimen Volume: 2 thin blood films and 2 thick blood films

Collection Instructions:

1. Ideally, blood films should be made directly from uncoagulated blood acquired via fingerstick. However, EDTA anticoagulated blood is also acceptable. 

2. Prepare thin blood films as follows:

a. Prepare a thin film with a "feathered edge" that is no more than a single cell thick.

b. Allow the film to thoroughly air dry and then fix by briefly immersing in either absolute or 95% methyl alcohol.

c. Allow to air dry after fixation.

3. Prepare thick blood films as follows:

a. Place a large drop of blood (approximately the size of a dime and preferably from a fingerstick) on a slide.

b. Using a corner of a second slide, spread the drop in a circular motion while applying firm pressure to literally scratch the blood onto the carrier slide. This technique allows the blood to dry quickly and adhere well to the slide. Use approximately 20 circular sweeps with the second slide. The drop of blood should be about the size of a quarter when finished.

c. Do not fix. Air dry thoroughly (approximately 45 minutes) before placing in transport container.

Specimen Minimum Volume Defines the amount of specimen required to perform an assay once, including instrument and container dead space. Submitting the minimum specimen volume makes it impossible to repeat the test or perform confirmatory or perform reflex testing. In some situations, a minimum specimen volume may result in a QNS (quantity not sufficient) result, requiring a second specimen to be collected.

Blood: 1 mL/Slides: NA

Reject Due To Identifies specimen types and conditions that may cause the specimen to be rejected


Mild OK; Gross reject







Specimen Stability Information Provides a description of the temperatures required to transport a specimen to the laboratory. Alternate acceptable temperature(s) are also included.

Specimen TypeTemperatureTime
VariesRefrigerated (preferred)7 days
 Ambient 7 days