Medicine & USMLE

Plasmodium Overview

  1. Giardia lamblia
  2. Toxoplasma gondii
  3. Entamoeba histolytica
  4. Cryptosporidium
  5. Naegleria fowleri
  6. Trypanosoma brucei
  7. Plasmodium Overview
  8. Plasmodium Disease (Malaria)
  9. Babesia
  10. Trypanosoma cruzi
  11. Leishmania
  12. Trichomonas vaginalis
  13. Enterobius vermicularis (pinworm)
  14. Ascaris lumbricoides (giant roundworm)
  15. Strongyloides stercoralis (threadworm)
  16. Ancylostoma and Necator
  17. Trichinella spiralis
  18. Trichuris trichiura (whipworm)
  19. Toxocara canis
  20. Onchocerca volvulus
  21. Loa loa
  22. Wuchereria bancrofti
  23. Taenia solium
  24. Diphyllobothrium latum
  25. Echinococcus granulosus
  26. Schistosoma
  27. Clonorchis sinensis
  28. Sarcoptes scabiei (Scabies)
  29. Pediculus humanis and Phthirus pubis (Lice)


Plasmodium malaria, or P. malaria for short, is a parasite that causes malaria. One of the clinical presentations of malaria is recurrent, or episodic, fevers that occur every third day. Some other clinical findings for malaria include splenomegaly and hemolysis. Also, the parasitic red blood cells created by P. malaria can adhere to capillaries, causing infarcts. To diagnose a malaria infection, you should do a Giemsa stain on a blood smear. The Giemsa stain can reveal trophozoites, which are ring-shaped parasites, inside the red blood cells. The first-line therapy for P.malaria is chloroquine. For chloroquine-resistant species, artemisinin is the first- line therapy, commonly given in combination with other therapies, like mefloquine. The second line therapy for chloroquine-resistant species is atovaquone-proguanil. Finally, in Plasmodium strains like P. vivax and P.ovale, primaquine is needed to kill the hypnozoites.

Key Points

  • Plasmodium spp. Overview
    • Characteristics
      • Protozoan parasite
      • 4 pathogenic species
        • Plasmodium falciparum
        • P. vivax and P. ovale
        • P. malariae
    • Transmission
      • Transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes
        • Endemic throughout the tropics
    • Pathogenesis and Life Cycle
      • In Human
        • Sporozoites infect Liver
        • Hypnozoite
          • In P. vivax and P. ovale only
          • Dormant form
        • Merozoites
          • Infect RBCs
            • Reform into ring-shaped trophozoites
            • RBC lysis causes relapsing fevers and sweating