Definition: A disease caused by the presence of the sporozoan Plasmodium in human or other vertebrate erythrocytes, usually transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female mosquito of the genus Anopheles that previously sucked blood from a person with malaria. Human infection begins with the exoerythrocytic cycle in liver parenchyma cells, followed by a series of erythrocytic schizogenous cycles repeated at regular intervals; production of gametocytes in other erythrocytes provides future gametes for another mosquito infection; characterized by episodic severe chills and high fever, prostration, occasionally fatal termination.
See: tropic diseases, under disease
[It. malo (fem. mala), bad, + aria, air, referring to the old theory of the miasmatic origin of the disease]
See Also: Plasmodium
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