Sign in →

Test Code M603 Parasites, Malaria and Other Blood Parasites, Blood

Performing Laboratory

Barnes-Jewish Hospital Laboratory


Giemsa Stain/Antigen Test

Testing Algorithm:
Antigen test is performed only one time per month per patient.  This test is not performed on request for Borrelia (sodium citrate tube).

Specimen Requirements

Specimen must arrive in the Microbiology Laboratory within 1 hour of draw for best results.


Acceptable Specimens:

Borrelia: 1 full, light blue-top (sodium citrate) tube
Malaria and other blood parasites: 1 full, lavender top (EDTA) tube.


Collection Procedure:

Aseptically draw blood into tube. Invert tube several times to mix blood. Do not centrifuge. (Clotted blood or less than a full tube is not acceptable.)
1. Multiple blood samples collected over 2-3 days at 8-12 hour intervals may be required for the detection of blood-borne parasites. 
2. Prolonged delays between collection of the blood and lab processing may affect the detection of parasites.  If specimen cannot reach Barnes-Jewish Hospital Laboratory within 1 hour, prepare a minimum of 4 thick and 4 thin smears immediately after blood draw. Call Barnes-Jewish Hospital Laboratory Customer Service at 314-362-1470 or the Microbiology Laboratory at 314-362-3898 to obtain information on proper smear preparation; or see Malaria Information and Slide Preparation in Special Instructions for collection information. Forward original tube and slides promptly.

3. Additional specimens collected less than 8 hours from initial specimen will not be processed.  


Day(s) Test Set Up

Monday through Sunday
Turnaround Time:
Antigen test: 1 hour
Giemsa stain: results available within 24 hours

Reference Values


Negative for Plasmodium falciparum antigen and the antigens for other Plasmodium species



Negative by smear analysis

Literature Reference:

Garcia, Lynne S. Diagnostic medical parasitology. 5th ed. Washington, DC: ASM Press; 2007;881-85.

Test Classification and CPT Coding


87899-Malaria antigen

Additional Information

For BJH Laboratory Use Only

Minimum Volume:

Borrelia: 1 full, light blue-top (sodium citrate) tube
Malaria and other blood parasites:  3 mL of EDTA plasma

Analyte Stability:

Blood for antigen is stable for 3 days at ambient temperature.

Alternate Tube:

1 pink-top (EDTA) tube

Laboratory Processing Instructions:
Test performed in BJH Microbiology. Check the collection time. If received ≥1 hour after draw, enter the order comment G1HR (Specimen was received in the laboratory greater than 1 hour from collection time of:  ____.) and notify the technologist. If anticipated that the EDTA tube of blood will not reach the laboratory within 1 hour, physician should have the thick and thin smears made immediately after blood collection. For proper smear preparation instructions, fax the “Malaria Information and Slide Preparation” form found in “Special Instructions” to the physician’s office.

Specimen Transport Temperature