Malaria parasite connecting to a red blood cell
Main symptoms of malaria
Laveran's drawing of various stages of P. falciparum as seen on fresh blood (1880).
The life cycle of malaria parasites. Sporozoites are introduced by a mosquito bite. They migrate to the liver, where they multiply into thousands of merozoites. The merozoites infect red blood cells and replicate, infecting more and more red blood cells. Some parasites form gametocytes, which are taken up by a mosquito, continuing the life cycle.
Blood smear from a P. falciparum culture (K1 strain - asexual forms) - several red blood cells have ring stages inside them. Close to the center is a schizont and on the left a trophozoite.
Micrograph of a placenta from a stillbirth due to maternal malaria. H&E stain. Red blood cells are anuclear; blue/black staining in bright red structures (red blood cells) indicate foreign nuclei from the parasites.
Ring forms in red blood cells (Giemsa stain)
Electron micrograph of a Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cell (center), illustrating adhesion protein "knobs"
Life cycle of Plasmodium
The blood film is the gold standard for malaria diagnosis.
Ring-forms and gametocytes of Plasmodium falciparum in human blood
An Anopheles stephensi mosquito shortly after obtaining blood from a human (the droplet of blood is expelled as a surplus). This mosquito is a vector of malaria, and mosquito control is an effective way of reducing its incidence.
Man spraying kerosene oil in standing water, Panama Canal Zone, 1912
Walls where indoor residual spraying of DDT has been applied. The mosquitoes remain on the wall until they fall down dead on the floor.
A mosquito net in use.
An advertisement for quinine as a malaria treatment from 1927.
Deaths due to malaria per million persons in 2012
Past and current malaria prevalence in 2009
Ancient malaria oocysts preserved in Dominican amber
British doctor Ronald Ross received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1902 for his work on malaria.
Chinese medical researcher Tu Youyou received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2015 for her work on the antimalarial drug artemisinin.
Artemisia annua, source of the antimalarial drug artemisinin
U.S. Marines with malaria in a field hospital on Guadalcanal, October 1942
Members of the Malaria Commission of the League of Nations collecting larvae on the Danube delta, 1929
1962 Pakistani postage stamp promoting malaria eradication program
Malaria clinic in Tanzania
Child with malaria in Ethiopia
World War II poster
Disability-adjusted life year for malaria per 100,000 inhabitants in 2004
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Plasmodium falciparum is a unicellular protozoan parasite of humans, and the deadliest species of Plasmodium that causes malaria in humans.

- Plasmodium falciparum

Antimalarial medications or simply antimalarials are a type of antiparasitic chemical agent, often naturally derived, that can be used to treat or to prevent malaria, in the latter case, most often aiming at two susceptible target groups, young children and pregnant women.

- Antimalarial medication

Practice in treating cases of malaria is most often based on the concept of combination therapy (e.g., using agents such as artemether and lumefantrine against chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum infection), since this offers advantages including reduced risk of treatment failure, reduced risk of developed resistance, as well as the possibility of reduced side-effects.

- Antimalarial medication

Most deaths are caused by P. falciparum, whereas P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae generally cause a milder form of malaria.

- Malaria

The recommended treatment for malaria is a combination of antimalarial medications that includes artemisinin.

- Malaria

According to WHO guidelines 2010, artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are the recommended first-line antimalarial treatments for uncomplicated malaria caused by P. falciparum.

- Plasmodium falciparum
Malaria parasite connecting to a red blood cell

5 related topics with Alpha



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Genus of unicellular eukaryotes that are obligate parasites of vertebrates and insects.

Genus of unicellular eukaryotes that are obligate parasites of vertebrates and insects.

Plasmodium is a eukaryote but with unusual features.
Life cycle of a species that infects humans
Ring forms of Plasmodium inside human red blood cells (Giemsa stain)
Sporozoites, one of several different forms of the parasite, from a mosquito
Oldest mosquito fossil with Plasmodium dominicana, 15-20 million year old
Many birds, from raptors to passerines like the red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus), can carry malaria.
A clinic for treating human malaria in Tanzania
Over 3000 species of lizard, including the Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis), carry some 90 kinds of malaria.
The mosquito Anopheles stephensi is among the blood-feeding insects that can be infected by a species of Plasmodium.

The ensuing destruction of host red blood cells can result in malaria.

Over the course of the 20th century, many other species were discovered in various hosts and classified, including five species that regularly infect humans: P. vivax, P. falciparum, P. malariae, P. ovale, and P. knowlesi.

A number of drugs have been developed to treat Plasmodium infection; however, the parasites have evolved resistance to each drug developed.

Plasmodium vivax

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Protozoal parasite and a human pathogen.

Protozoal parasite and a human pathogen.

This parasite is the most frequent and widely distributed cause of recurring malaria.

Although it is less virulent than Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest of the five human malaria parasites, P. vivax malaria infections can lead to severe disease and death, often due to splenomegaly (a pathologically enlarged spleen).

Where an artemisinin-based combination therapy has been adopted as the first-line treatment for P. falciparum malaria, it may also be used for P. vivax malaria in combination with primaquine for radical cure.

Figure 1. Biosynthesis of Artemisinin


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Figure 1. Biosynthesis of Artemisinin
Artemisia annua

Artemisinin and its semisynthetic derivatives are a group of drugs used in the treatment of malaria due to Plasmodium falciparum.

Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are now standard treatment worldwide for P. falciparum malaria as well as malaria due to other species of Plasmodium.


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Medical quinolines
Hemozoin formation in P. falciparum: many antimalarials are strong inhibitors of hemozoin crystal growth.
Resochin tablet package

Chloroquine is a medication primarily used to prevent and treat malaria in areas where malaria remains sensitive to its effects.

It is generally not used for Plasmodium falciparum as there is widespread resistance to it.

In areas where resistance is present, other antimalarials, such as mefloquine or atovaquone, may be used instead.

Artemisia annua

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Common type of wormwood native to temperate Asia, but naturalized in many countries including scattered parts of North America.

Common type of wormwood native to temperate Asia, but naturalized in many countries including scattered parts of North America.

Artemisia annua

An extract of A. annua, called artemisinin (or artesunate), is a medication used to treat malaria.

In 1971, scientists demonstrated the plant extracts had antimalarial activity in primate models, and in 1972, the active ingredient, artemisinin (formerly referred to as arteannuin), was isolated and its chemical structure described.

Malaria is caused by apicomplexans, primarily Plasmodium falciparum, which largely reside in red blood cells and contain iron-rich heme-groups (in the form of hemozoin).