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Malarias – Plasmodium

by Vincent Racaniello, PhD
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    00:01 There are a variety of different Plasmodium that cause human malaria, Plasmodium falciparum for example and this blood smear stained to visualize two parasite containing red blood cells, the pictures are slightly different for each organism. Plasmodium vivax is another malaria causing protozoan parasite. Plasmodium malariae and finally Plasmodium ovale, the diseases caused by these different Plasmodium species have overall features in similar fashion, but they do have some differences and there are slight geographic differences as to the location of the parasites. This global map shows you the regions of the world in which infection with the Plasmodia species occur.

    00:54 The malarias, you can see most of Africa is affected in red, a good part of Asia, Central and South America. So the regions, essentially border the equator, these are where the mosquitoes are found that transmit the infection. The malarias are responsible for 2 billion infections every year, just think of that in the context of the population of earth. This is huge and 3 million deaths mostly in Africa and mostly in children less than five years of age. And this is the real tragedy of malaria that it targets children and makes them unable to learn and have productive lives. As a consequence of multiple infections with these parasites and multiple bouts of malaria in the lifetime of these individuals, the effect is a reduction in both economic and social development. If we could rid the globe of malaria, we’d make so many more people able to have productive lives and contribute to the human experience.

    02:05 Humans are the only reservoir for those four species of plasmodium that I showed you at the beginning. There are animal variants of these malarias and as far as we know they don't cause human disease. There is some suggesting that this may be changing, but for the most part the four species I showed you, humans are the only reservoir. They are transmitted among humans by the bite of an infected female anopheline mosquito, alright, female mosquito.

    02:40 Now can you tell me, do male mosquitoes bite you? I’ll give you a few seconds. The answer is no. Whenever you're bitten by a mosquito, it's a female mosquito doing that, and that's because she needs the blood in order to lay eggs. Interesting little observation. So all the diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, whether they be parasitic or viral, it's all spread by female mosquitoes.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Malarias – Plasmodium by Vincent Racaniello, PhD is from the course Parasites.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Plasmodium berghei
    2. Plasmodium falciparum
    3. Plasmodium vivax
    4. Plasmodium malariae
    5. Plasmodium ovale
    1. Female Anopheles mosquito
    2. Male Anopheline mosquito
    3. Sporothrix Schenckii
    4. Ixodes Scapularis
    5. Tsetse fly
    1. They do not bite
    2. They do not have enough energy supply
    3. They do not have enzymes for plasmodium growth
    4. They do not have a feeding tube
    5. They have a thin proboscis.

    Author of lecture Malarias – Plasmodium

     Vincent Racaniello, PhD

    Vincent Racaniello, PhD


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