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October 16, 1967

Timing the Blood Smear For Malaria Diagnosis

JAMA. 1967;202(3):248. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130160122046

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To the Editor:—  Dr. Edward K. Markell (201:490, 1967) states correctly that many physicians are unaware of the proper time at which to take malaria smears. He refers to the "common practice of ordering smears... to be taken at the height of the patient's fever." He further states that such films "may be devoid of recognizable parasites, whereas those made 6 or 12 hours before or after the fever might contain them in abundance." This last statement is not borne out in practical experience. The major objection to films taken at the peak of fever or shortly thereafter is that