Detection of plasmodium parasites from images of thin blood smears
Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in tropical and subtropical countries. Conventional microscopy is the Gold standard in the diagnosis of the disease. However, it is prone to some shortcomings which include time consumption and difficultness in reproducing results. Alternative diagnosis techniques which yield superior results are quite expensive and hence inaccessible to developing countries where the disease is prevalent. Thus in this work, an accurate, speedy and affordable system of malaria detection using stained thin blood smear images was developed. The method uses Artificial Neural Network (ANN) to test for the presence of plasmodium parasites in thin blood smear images. Images of infected and non-infected erythrocytes were acquired, pre-processed, relevant features extracted from them and eventually diagnosis was made based on the features extracted from the images. Diagnosis entailed detection of plasmodium parasites. Classification accuracy of 95.0% in detection of infected erythrocyte was achieved with respect to results obtained by expert microscopists. The study revealed that artificial neural network (ANN) classifiers trained with colour features of infected stained thin blood smear images are suitable for detection. It was further shown that ANN classifiers can be trained to perform image segmentation.