It is a common practice in developing countries for a medical laboratory professionals and clinicians to use a dipstick to detect and interpret a suspected disease like malaria using the naked eye.
This visual interpretation has been shown to be unreliable or inconsistent, because it could be interpreted differently by different testers. For example, 100 to 1,000 copies of DNA per microlitre as shown below could be interpreted as either positive or negative depending on the person viewing it. Also, the interpretation of the dipstick lines cannot tell the health professionals an estimate of the amount of the disease that is present in the body fluid before, during and after treatment of the disease.
This sort of problem could lead to inaccurate diagnosis for the patient, and inability of the clinicians to monitor treatment in order to determine a successful outcome. The lack of treatment follow-up poses a challenge to assess antibiotics sensitivity or resistance from specific infectious disease.
banner image courtesy of Dr Nick Hamilton