Plasmodium Overview

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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
          • Includes Africa, S. America, India, and SE Asia
    • Pathogenesis and Life Cycle
      • In Human
        • Sporozoites
          • Inoculated form by Anopheles mosquito
          • Infect Liver
            • Form schizonts that eventually rupture and release merozoites into blood
        • Hypnozoite
          • in P. vivax and P. ovale only
          • Dormant form
            • can persist and cause relapses
            • chloroquine cannot kill hypnozoites; needs primaquine to kill dormant form
        • Merozoites
          • Released from liver
          • Infect RBCs
            • Reform into ring-shaped trophozoites
            • Form schizonts that eventually rupture and release more merozoites
          • RBC lysis causes relapsing fevers and sweating
            • Release of inflammatory cytokines (e.g. TNF-alpha) causes recurrent inflammation