Purpose: This study was designed to evaluate the use of different techniques in diagnosis of malaria and extend of malaria infection in Tabuk region, Saudi Arabia
Methods: We examined the blood samples of blood donors and suspected malaria cases from different hospitals in Tabuk city, Saudi Arabia, which were diagnosed by rapid diagnostic test (RDT). The result of RDT was compared to microscopic examination and PCR based Microtiter plate-hybridization technique (MPH) .
Results: Thirteen blood samples were diagnosed malaria positive by RDT, twelve blood samples were diagnosed malaria positive by microscopic examination and 15 samples were diagnosed malaria positive by MPH technique. The MPH diagnosed malaria cases were Plasmodium falciparum ( 53.3%), Plasmodium vivax (13.3%), Plasmodium ovale (6.7 %), Plasmodium malariae ( 6.7%), and mixed infection of P. falciparum and P. vivax ( 20%). The MPH method was also able to identify three mixed infection of while the microscopy detected no mixed infection.
Conclusion: This research revealed that the MPH technique is more sensitive and specific than RDT and microscopy for the diagnosis of malaria parasites. Malaria infection is still a threat in Tabuk region.