December 7 2010 (Tuesday) - Malaria Training

Today I had an in-house training session on malaria. I say "training session", it was more of a refresher and reminder. But we don't see that many cases of malaria, so I found it useful. I started off with an on-line tutorial, then had a go on some slides. One thing which became clear is that there is a world of difference between a microscope and a PC screen.

P. malariae is fairly easy to get right – it looks hideous. P Falciparum is (usually) the only one with multiple infestations in one red cell, or with “blister” forms. I have trouble distinguishing between P Vivax and P Ovale. From the depths of my memory came some old ditties:

  • Vivax-to-the-max (P. Vivax causes large infested red cells)
  • Vivax – Asia (two syllables)
  • Ovaly Ovale (P. Ovale causes oval infested red cells)
  • Ovale – Africa (three syllables)
I have done my test; the results will come out in a week or so. I wonder how badly I did? I’m not the worlds best at malaria. I can’t help but feel that if I can spot the fact that a patient has malaria, then that is good enough. Other people far more expert than I can identify the species and quantitate the parasitaemia.
Is that being lazy?

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