Over a period of six months, a total of 2,678 children with fever underwent testing for malaria using a rapid diagnostic test at the Bugoye Level III Health Center in the Kasese District of Western Uganda. Nearly half tested positive for malaria and 83 satisfied criteria for severe malaria. The sensitivity and specificity of the rapid diagnostic test for detecting severe malaria was percent. The test was especially sensitive for children less than 5 years of age. Knowing when a child is suffering from severe malaria allows for a referral to a health center better equipped to handle the disease's grave manifestations.
There are several difficulties involved in investigating very small children. They cannot be asked about how they experience touch, whereas in studies of adults the subjects' own perceptions also are taken into account. And other neuroimaging methods have required that the head be kept stationary, which is difficult when it comes to infants. The current method and equipment, which uses near-infrared light to measure blood flows, allows the child to move to some extent. The study was carried out in Turku with colleagues from Finland, Sweden and Germany.