Malaria/Babesia/Other Blood Parasites

Test Code

CPT Codes

Preferred Specimen
4 blood smears (2 thick and 2 thin), prepared from capillary source (finger) submitted in a slide folder, and 5 mL whole blood collected in an EDTA (lavender-top) tube

Patient Preparation
Blood drawn 1 to 2 hours prior to expected chill will enhance recovery of malarial parasites by the laboratory

Minimum Volume
2 air-dried blood smears (1 thick and 1 thin) and 1 mL whole blood

Blood samples are to be taken, and slides prepared when the patient presents with symptoms of malaria, and every 6 hours for 36 hours.

Specimens obtained during the febrile state yield the greatest number of parasites in circulating blood. It is very important that at least one thick and one thin blood film smear must be submitted on two separate glass slides with one frosted end, in addition to the EDTA (lavender-top) tube.

One slide should be smeared as is done with a differential exam and one slide should have a drop of blood dried in an area about the size of a dime.

Note: Travel history (name of country and when visited) and anti-malarial agents should be noted on the requisition.

Transport Temperature
Room temperature

Specimen Stability
Room temperature: 30 days
Refrigerated: Unacceptable
Frozen: Unacceptable

Whole blood
Room temperature: 24 hours
Refrigerated: Unacceptable
Frozen: Unacceptable

Reject Criteria (Eg, hemolysis? Lipemia? Thaw/Other?)
Hemolysis • Clotted blood • Frozen blood • Age-deteriorated blood cells (EDTA blood older than 48 hours)

Microscopic Examination with Giemsa stain.
One negative observation cannot rule out blood parasites.
Babesia and other blood parasites are noted and reported.

Setup Schedule
Set up: Mon-Sat night; Report available: Next day

Reference Range

Clinical Significance
The identification of malarial parasites and other blood parasites is used to determine treatment and prognosis. Babesia and other blood parasite are noted and reported. Microfilaria can be detected from a giemsa stain. However, this test is not recommended for the detection of microfilaria. One negative observation cannot rule out blood parasites.

Performing Laboratory
Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute
14225 Newbrook Drive
Chantilly, VA 20153

The CPT Codes provided in this document are based on AMA guidelines and are for informational purposes only. CPT coding is the sole responsibility of the billing party. Please direct any questions regarding coding to the payor being billed. Any Profile/panel component may be ordered separately. Reflex tests are performed at an additional charge.