What is malaria?

Updated: Apr 26, 2019
  • Author: Thomas E Herchline, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Malaria is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by infection with Plasmodium protozoa transmitted by an infective female Anopheles mosquito. Plasmodium falciparum infection carries a poor prognosis with a high mortality if untreated, but it has an excellent prognosis if diagnosed early and treated appropriately. See the image below.

Malarial merozoites in the peripheral blood. Note Malarial merozoites in the peripheral blood. Note that several of the merozoites have penetrated the erythrocyte membrane and entered the cell.

See 11 Travel Diseases to Consider Before and After the Trip, a Critical Images slideshow, to help identify and manage infectious travel diseases.


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