Laboratory Services

Rapid Malaria/Babesia Smear, Varies

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Updated Test Information:

Test Description
Rapid Malaria/Babesia Smear, Varies

Babesia; Plasmodium; Trypanosomes; Chagas

Test ID
General Information

Useful for:

Specimen Type

  • EDTA Whole Blood

  • Blood films

  • Both blood and slides are required

Specimen Requirements

Lavender top (EDTA)

Specimen Collection / Processing Instructions

  • Lavender top (EDTA)

  • Invert several times to mix blood

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

  • Slides (2 thin blood films and 2 thick blood films):

  • Slides must be clean and grease-free

  • 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

    • Prepare thin blood films as follows:

      • Prepare 2 thin smears with the mini prep-slide machine. OR

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

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

      • Allow to air dry after fixation

    • Prepare thick blood films as follows:

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

      • 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

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


Refrigerated (preferred): Not mentioned

Unacceptable Specimen Conditions

  • Gross hemolysis

  • Gross lipemia


  • For most sensitive detection of Plasmodium, thick smears must be examined

  • Any exam that does not include a thick smear cannot be considered adequate

  • Since the degree of parasitemia may change rapidly due to natural parasite replication and administration of antimalarial therapies, it is most useful to calculate the percentage of infected cells immediately after the blood is drawn and malaria parasites are detected. A percent parasitemia that is calculated more than 8 hours after the blood is drawn will not accurately reflect the patient's current state of parasitemia

  • Calculation of the percent parasitemia may not be possible or may be inaccurate if malaria parasites have degraded or have altered morphology due to age of the specimen or suboptimal transportation conditions.


Giemsa Stain

Estimated TAT

1-2 days

Testing Schedule


CPT Code(s)


Additional Information
Minimum Sample Volume

  • Blood: 0.5 mL

  • Slides: 2 thin blood films and 2 thick blood films

Reference Range


Performing Lab


LOINC Code(s)