Detection of malaria infection in blood transfusion: a comparative study among real-time PCR, rapid diagnostic test and microscopy
The transmission of malaria by blood transfusion was one of the first transfusion-transmitted infections recorded in the world. Transfusion-transmitted malaria may lead to serious problems because infection with Plasmodium falciparum may cause rapidly fatal death. This study aimed to compare real-time polymerase chain reaction (real-time PCR) with rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and light microscopy for the detection of Plasmodium spp. in blood transfusion, both in endemic and non-endemic areas of malaria disease in Iran. Two sets of 50 blood samples were randomly collected. One set was taken from blood samples donated in blood bank of Bandar Abbas, a city located in a malarious-endemic area, and the other set from Tehran, a non-endemic one. Light microscopic examination on both thin and thick smears, RDTs, and real-time PCR were performed on the blood samples and the results were compared. Thin and thick light microscopic examinations of all samples as well as RDT results were negative for Plasmodium spp. Two blood samples from endemic area were positive only with real-time PCR. It seems that real-time PCR as a highly sensitive method can be helpful for the confirmation of malaria infection in different units of blood transfusion organization especially in malaria-endemic areas where the majority of donors may be potentially infected with malaria parasites.