Malaria is a blood born parasitic infection spread by Anopheles mosquitoes from one human carrier to the next. The parasite – one of five members of the Plasmodium family – multiplies in hepatocytes, causing serious infection only once it has migrated to a host’s erythrocytes.

The lifecycle of the Malaria parasite – especially that of the most virulent strain, Plasmodium falciparum – begins with the ‘meal’ of a female Anopheles mosquito on an infected host. Once the mosquito ingests the tainted blood, the gametocytes of the parasite generate a zygote in the bug’s stomach which then quickly matures to an oocyte that can penetrate the midgut wall of the mosquito. These oocytes continue to mature, eventually rupturing and releasing sporozoites which migrate to the mosquito’s salivary glands where they stay dormant until its next meal.

When this, now infected mosquito takes its next bite it injects sporozoites from the salivary glands into the healthy human host. The sporozites immediately begin to migrate to the human host’s hepatocytes maturing in the liver for up to two weeks. Once mature, the sporozites rupture, releasing merozites – the mature form of the parasite which can infect erythrocytes, leading to symptomatic Malaria.

Throughout this migration the sporozites continue to asexually multiply, infecting an increasing number of erythrocytes throughout the system. As the infection spreads the cells continue to rupture – releasing more parasites and triggering the cascade of non specific inflammatory symptoms typical of the disease.

Excerpt from:Managing Malaria

See also Wikipedia:Malaria

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