RDT Negatives

Rapid diagnostic tests for malaria reveal that in many regions where the disease is endemic only 50% of children’s fevers are actually malarial. When the disease isn’t the culprit, health workers who aren’t trained to diagnose other ailments tend to prescribe antibiotics without knowing underlying causes.

Researchers are trying to develop better diagnostic tools for non-malarial fevers that discern viral from bacterial and the severity of the illness. Apps that collect data like breaths per minute and blood levels of C-reactive proteins can help with diagnostics and recommended treatment, but experts believe they aren’t a stand-in for more robust health systems, skilled health workers, and adequate supplies.


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