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Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL) Test Directory

Malaria - Blood

Source Blood
Mnemonic M MALARIA
Specimen Requirements

NOTE: Before ordering and/or collecting specimens for malaria testing, refer to instructions included in the Ebola Information for Health Professionals regarding patients returning from Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)-affected areas and non-Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)-affected areas for both community and in-patients. ANY and ALL laboratory testing for patients returning from EVD-affected areas MUST be coordinated through the local zone MOH. All requests for malaria testing for patients returning from non-EVD-affected areas must include travel history.

A clinical history form MUST be provided. Complete the
Malaria History Form MI6002  including the Ebola/VHF Risk section. Refer to Malaria - Endemic Countries

Test cannot be collected by Mobile Collection Service (MCS).

1 x 6 mL lavender top EDTA tube
Exception: South Health Campus (SHC) and High River Hospital (HRH) collect 2 x 6 mL lavender top EDTA tubes

Minimum 2 mL whole blood


  • Hemolyzed specimens are acceptable for malaria testing
  • Clotted specimens are unacceptable



Specimen Handling

DO NOT open tube(s).
DO NOT centrifuge.
DO NOT make blood smears unless the specimen cannot be delivered to the lab within 1 hour 40 minutes of collection.

All laboratory sites other than HRH and SHC:
Transport specimen stat directly to the CLS DSC. Specimens must arrive within 1 hour 40 minutes of collection.

•For specimens that may be delayed greater than 1 hour 40 minutes hours (i.e. sites outside the Calgary Region), a set of four (4) thick and six (6) thin smears must be made and submitted to the laboratory. For instructions refer to Malarial Smear Preparation MI6115

HRH laboratory:
Transport both specimens stat directly to the SHC. Specimen must arrive within 1 hour 40 minutes of collection.

SHC laboratory:

Malaria specimens collected/received at SHC will have initial rapid Malaria antigen screen testing performed. 

CLS staff follow direction provided in regional procedures REG03-010 Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Testing (Binax) and REG03-020 SHC Malaria Workflow.

Transport M Malaria EDTA specimen tube and 6 thin smears stat to Diagnostic Service Centre (DSC) Microbiology.

  • Make the necessary courier/cab arrangements for transportation to meet this time expectation. Call the courier desk at 403-770-3311 for assistance and provide the time of specimen collection.   Phone notification to Microbiology is no longer required.

Physicians may consult with the Microbiologist on Call at 403-770-3757 for clinical questions.

Additional Information

PCR panel screen for the detection of Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale,
P. malariae and P. knowlesi will only be performed if clinical history is provided. Specimens positive by PCR screen will undergo peripheral blood examination. Specimens negative by PCR screen are reported as final result.

Additional blood parasites: refer to BabesiaLeishmania, Microfilaria and Trypanosomes.

Testing Location CLS Microbiology
Testing Frequency Daily
Alternate Name(s)

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