Malaria is diagnosed by a blood test. Sometimes it is necessary to repeat the test a number of times, as the parasites can be difficult to detect.

Type of tests: all suspected malaria cases should be tested using

  • Blood smear or
  • Rapid diagnostic test

Incubation period (time between becoming infected and developing symptoms) varies with the type:

  • P. falciparum: 9 to 14 days
  • P. vivax: 12 to18 days but some strains may have an incubation period of 8 to 10 months or longer
  • P. ovale: 12 to 18 days
  • P. malariae: 18 to 40 days
  • P. knowlesi: 9 to 12 days