Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) detecting the histidine-rich protein 2 (PfHRP2) have a central position for the management of Plasmodium falciparum infections. Yet, variable detection of certain targeted motifs, low parasitaemia, but also deletion of pfhrp2 gene or its homologue pfhrp3, may result in false-negative RDT leading to misdiagnosis and delayed treatment. This study aimed at investigating the prevalence, and understanding the possible causes, of P. falciparum RDT-negative infections at Montpellier Academic Hospital, France.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) as a good alternative malaria-diagnosis method in remote parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of commercial RDTs currently available detect the Plasmodium falciparum protein histidine-rich protein 2 (PfHRP2). There have also been recent reports of pfhrp2 gene deletions being found in parasites collected from several African countries. The WHO has concluded that lacking the pfhrp2 gene must be monitored in Africa. The purpose of the study was to analyse why the samples that were positive by PCR were negative by RDTs and, therefore, to determine whether there have been deletions in the pfhrp2 and/or pfhrp3 genes.