A report on Malaria and Plasmodium falciparum

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

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

- Malaria
Malaria parasite connecting to a red blood cell

24 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.

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).

Antimalarial medication

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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.

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.

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.


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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.

Plasmodium malariae

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Geographical areas of malaria transmission
As a protist, the plasmodium is a eukaryote of the phylum Apicomplexa. Unusual characteristics of this organism in comparison to general eukaryotes include the rhoptry, micronemes, and polar rings near the apical end. The plasmodium is known best for the infection it causes, malaria.
Plasmodium malariae wiki

Plasmodium malariae is a parasitic protozoan that causes malaria in humans.

It is one of several species of Plasmodium parasites that infect other organisms as pathogens, also including Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, responsible for most malarial infection.


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Genus of mosquito first described and named by J. W. Meigen in 1818.

Genus of mosquito first described and named by J. W. Meigen in 1818.

Anopheles egg
Anopheles larva from southern Germany, about 8 mm long
Feeding position of an Anopheles larva (A), compared to that of a nonanopheline mosquito (B)
Resting positions of adult Anopheles (A, B), compared to a nonanopheline mosquito (C)
Key to the morphology of female Anopheles

About 460 species are recognised; while over 100 can transmit human malaria, only 30–40 commonly transmit parasites of the genus Plasmodium, which cause malaria in humans in endemic areas.

Anopheles gambiae is one of the best known, because of its predominant role in the transmission of the most dangerous malaria parasite species (to humans) – Plasmodium falciparum.


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Tonic water, in normal light and ultraviolet "black light". The quinine content of tonic water causes it to fluoresce under black light.
Quinine biosynthesis
19th-century illustration of Cinchona calisaya

Quinine is a medication used to treat malaria and babesiosis.

This includes the treatment of malaria due to Plasmodium falciparum that is resistant to chloroquine when artesunate is not available.

Giovanni Battista Grassi

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Grassi Giovanni Battista

Giovanni Battista Grassi (27 March 1854 – 4 May 1925) was an Italian physician and zoologist, best known for his pioneering works on parasitology, especially on malariology.

He was the first to describe and establish the life cycle of the human malarial parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, and discovered that only female anopheline mosquitoes are capable of transmitting the disease.

A fish parasite, the isopod Cymothoa exigua, replacing the tongue of a Lithognathus


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Close relationship between species, where one organism, the parasite, lives on or inside another organism, the host, causing it some harm, and is adapted structurally to this way of life.

Close relationship between species, where one organism, the parasite, lives on or inside another organism, the host, causing it some harm, and is adapted structurally to this way of life.

A fish parasite, the isopod Cymothoa exigua, replacing the tongue of a Lithognathus
Head (scolex) of tapeworm Taenia solium, an intestinal parasite, has hooks and suckers to attach to its host
The parasitic castrator Sacculina carcini (highlighted) attached to its crab host
Human head-lice are directly transmitted obligate ectoparasites
Clonorchis sinensis, the Chinese liver fluke, is trophically transmitted
The vector-transmitted protozoan endoparasite Trypanosoma among human red blood cells
Mosquitoes are micropredators, and important vectors of disease
Life cycle of Entamoeba histolytica, an anaerobic parasitic protozoan transmitted by the fecal–oral route
Cuscuta (a dodder), a stem holoparasite, on an acacia tree
The honey fungus, Armillaria mellea, is a parasite of trees, and a saprophyte feeding on the trees it has killed.
Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, is transmitted by Ixodes ticks.
Enterobacteria phage T4 is a bacteriophage virus. It infects its host, Escherichia coli, by injecting its DNA through its tail, which attaches to the bacterium's surface.
Restoration of a Tyrannosaurus with holes possibly caused by a Trichomonas-like parasite
Wolbachia bacteria within an insect cell
Biologists long suspected cospeciation of flamingos and ducks with their parasitic lice, which were similar in the two families. Cospeciation did occur, but it led to flamingos and grebes, with a later host switch of flamingo lice to ducks.
The protozoan Toxoplasma gondii facilitates its transmission by inducing behavioral changes in rats through infection of neurons in their central nervous system.
Trait loss: bedbug Cimex lectularius is flightless, like many insect ectoparasites.
The dry skin of vertebrates such as the short-horned lizard prevents the entry of many parasites.
Leaf spot on oak. The spread of the parasitic fungus is limited by defensive chemicals produced by the tree, resulting in circular patches of damaged tissue.
The rescuing from extinction of the California condor was a successful if very expensive project, but its ectoparasite, the louse Colpocephalum californici, was made extinct.
Parasites are distributed very unevenly among their hosts, most hosts having no parasites, and a few hosts harbouring most of the parasite population. This distribution makes sampling difficult and requires careful use of statistics.
A plate from Francesco Redi's Osservazioni intorno agli animali viventi che si trovano negli animali viventi (Observations on living animals found inside living animals), 1684
Ronald Ross won the 1902 Nobel Prize for showing that the malaria parasite is transmitted by mosquitoes. This 1897 notebook page records his first observations of the parasite in mosquitoes.
"An Old Parasite in a New Form": an 1881 Punch cartoon by Edward Linley Sambourne compares a crinoletta bustle to a parasitic insect's exoskeleton
Fictional parasitism: oil painting Parasites by Katrin Alvarez, 2011
Idiobiont parasitoid wasps immediately paralyse their hosts for their larvae (Pimplinae, pictured) to eat.
Koinobiont parasitoid wasps like this braconid lay their eggs inside their hosts, which continue to grow and moult.
Phorid fly (centre left) is laying eggs in the abdomen of a worker honey-bee, altering its behaviour.
A hyperparasitoid pteromalid wasp on the cocoons of its host, itself a parasitoid braconid wasp
The large blue butterfly is an ant mimic and social parasite.
In brood parasitism, the host raises the young of another species, here a cowbird's egg, that has been laid in its nest.
The great skua is a powerful kleptoparasite, relentlessly pursuing other seabirds until they disgorge their catches of food.
The male anglerfish Ceratias holboelli lives as a tiny sexual parasite permanently attached below the female's body.
Encarsia perplexa (centre), a parasitoid of citrus blackfly (lower left), is also an adelphoparasite, laying eggs in larvae of its own species

Parasites include single-celled protozoans such as the agents of malaria, sleeping sickness, and amoebic dysentery; animals such as hookworms, lice, mosquitoes, and vampire bats; fungi such as honey fungus and the agents of ringworm; and plants such as mistletoe, dodder, and the broomrapes.

The first and as of 2015 the only licensed vaccine for any parasitic disease of humans is RTS,S for Plasmodium falciparum malaria.