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Test Catalog

Test ID: MAL    
Rapid Malaria/Babesia Smear

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.

Malaria is potentially a life-threatening disease and testing for this infection should be performed as rapidly as possible. Therefore, this test should not be used as a primary screening test for malaria, except for clients in the immediate Rochester, Minnesota area when the specimen can be delivered within several hours of collection. Laboratories that are unable to deliver a specimen within this time frame should provide an initial screen for malaria and other blood parasites in their laboratory prior to sending a specimen to Mayo Medical Laboratories. This test is used for confirmation of a presumptive malaria diagnosis and determination of infecting Plasmodium species.


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

Microbiology Request Form (T244) (

Neurology Test Request Form (T732) (


Blood and slides are required.


Specimen Type: Blood

Container/Tube: Lavender top (EDTA)

Specimen Volume: 1 mL

Collection Instructions:

1. Invert several times to mix blood.

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


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. Blood films should be made from fresh blood using fingerstick or drops of blood from needle following venipuncture. However, EDTA anticoagulated blood is also acceptable.

2. Prepare thin blood films as follows:

a. Prepare a thin film with a "feathered edge" which 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: 0.5 mL/Slides: NA

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


Mild reject; 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)