Ordering Recommendation

Not a first-line test for diagnosis of acute symptomatic malaria. Refer to Parasites Smear (Giemsa Stain), Blood (0049025) or Malaria, Rapid Screen and Giemsa Stain (2001547). May be used in accordance with CDC recommendations for asymptomatic or subclinical malaria screening of sub-Saharan African refugees. 

New York DOH Approval Status

This test is New York state approved.

Specimen Required

Patient Preparation

Lavender (EDTA) or pink (K2EDTA).

Specimen Preparation

Transport 1 mL whole blood. (Min: 0.5 mL)

Storage/Transport Temperature


Unacceptable Conditions

Heparinized specimens.


Ambient: 24 hours; Refrigerated: 1 week; Frozen: 1 week


Qualitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)




1-3 days

Reference Interval

Interpretive Data

Acute, symptomatic malaria: This qualitative test is intended only for the species identification of microscopically confirmed malaria infections. It is not intended to monitor treatment response or parasite clearance.

A positive result may be obtained in the absence of visible parasites. In coinfections with two or more Plasmodium species, differences in parasite burden may lead to failure of one or more species to be identified.

Asymptomatic/subclinical malaria: PCR is recommended by the CDC as the most sensitive laboratory test for detection of asymptomatic or subclinical malaria in refugee screening programs. PCR is only recommended for routine screening of refugees from sub-Saharan Africa who have not received predeparture therapy.

A negative result on this assay does not rule out the presence of PCR inhibitors in the patient specimen or assay-specific nucleic acid in concentrations below the level of detection by the assay.

Compliance Category

Laboratory Developed Test (LDT)


Hotline History


CPT Codes

87798 x5


Component Test Code* Component Chart Name LOINC
2004964 Malaria by PCR, P. falciparum 41447-4
2004966 Malaria by PCR, P. knowlesi 47085-6
2004968 Malaria by PCR, P. vivax 41450-8
2004970 Malaria by PCR, P. malariae 41448-2
2004972 Malaria by PCR, P. ovale 41449-0
* Component test codes cannot be used to order tests. The information provided here is not sufficient for interface builds; for a complete test mix, please click the sidebar link to access the Interface Map.


  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Plasmodium knowlesi
  • Plasmodium malariae
  • Plasmodium ovale
  • Plasmodium vivax
Malaria Species Identification by PCR