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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: Malarial Smear

Test Code(s): MAL / GM1085

CPT Code(s): 87207 x 2

Test Description: Test Component:

Thin prep smear for review by UWHC Laboratory; thick and thin prep smears for review by Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene.


Note: To order this test you are required to provide pertinent travel history information including, the location of the travel where the patient may have acquired malaria and the date of such travel.

Clinical Significance: To diagnose malaria infections, including speciation.

Days Performed: Daily, 24 hours.

Turnaround Time: Routine: Thin prep review by UWHC Hematology Lab: 1 hour. Thick/thin prep review by the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene: 1 day (available Monday-Friday only).

Specimen Requirements

Specimen: Venipuncture or finger stick

Collection Instructions: Preferred collection time is immediately before a fever spike is anticipated. Capillary blood collected into a lavendar- K3EDTA  microtainer is preferred, lavendar-K2EDTA is acceptable. Otherwise whole blood in a lavendar K3EDTA tube is preferred, lavendar K2EDTA is acceptable.

Collection Container: Preferred: See collection instructions.

Collection Volume: Preferred: 1 mL
Pediatrics: 0.25 mL in microtainer

Sample Analyzed: Whole Blood

Volume Required: Preferred: 1 mL
Pediatrics: 0.25 mL in microtainer

Specimen Processing: Slides must be prepared by laboratory within 1 hour of specimen collection.  Prepare 5 thin slides (unstained, unfixed) and 2 thick slides (unstained, unfixed).  Allow slides to dry completely prior to shipping.

Specimen Transport: Transport whole blood specimen to UWHC Core Laboratory (B4/220) immediately.  If sending slides, place in protective slide holder(s).

Stability: Ambient: Whole blood: 1 hour
Refrigerated: OK
Frozen: Not acceptable


Expected Results:

No blood parasites seen.

Critical Calls: View

Additional Information:

Ordering source will be called if organisms are seen. One set of negative blood smears does not definitively rule out malaria infection. Follow-up samples should be collected for a minimum of three successive days, every six to eight hours.

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