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Definition of Plasmodium

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Plasmodium: The genus of the class of Sporazoa that includes the parasite that causes malaria. Plasmodium is a type of protozoa, a single-celled organism that is able to divide only within a host cell. The main types of Plasmodium are P. falciparum, the species that causes falciparum malaria, the most dangerous type of malaria; P. malariae, the species that causes quartan malaria; P. ovale, a species found primarily in east and central Africa that causes ovale malaria; and P. vivax, the species that causes vivax malaria, which tends to be milder than falciparum malaria.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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