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Plasmodium falciparum


Definition: Laverania falcipara, a species that is the causal agent of falciparum (malignant tertian) malaria; a young trophozoite is about one fifth the size of an erythrocyte, but developing erythrocytic stages are rarely seen in circulating blood, because they render infected cells sticky and cause them to concentrate in capillaries in the vital organs, particularly the brain and the heart; a schizont occupies about one half to two thirds of the erythrocyte and has fine, sparse granules (observed in peripheral blood only from moribund patients); infected erythrocytes are normal or contracted in size and are likely to contain basophilic granules and red dots (Maurer clefts or dots); multiple infection is extremely frequent, which causes bouts of fever somewhat irregularly, bcause the parasite's cycles of multiplication are usually asynchronous.

Synonym(s): malignant tertian malarial parasite, Plasmodium aethiopicum

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.