We have developed a colorimetric assay, 'microtiter plate-hybridization', for the detection of malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax in human blood, in which the target DNA sequences (18S small subunit ribosomal RNA gene) amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are hybridized with the species-specific probes immobilized on a microtiter well. This assay system was tested in Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, where malaria is highly endemic. We obtained blood samples by finger puncture from 130 asymptomatic donors. Among the 130 samples, 30 (23%) were P. falciparum positive, 28 (22%) were P. vivax positive, and 8 (6%) were mixed infections. The results of our DNA diagnostic method showed good correlation with those of acridine orange microscopy.
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