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ABO Blood System and Malarial Infections

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Malarial infections are an ongoing epidemic that millions contract globally. According to the recently published World Malaria Report by the World Health Organization (2013), during the year 2012, the number of known cases totaled 207 million with about 627,000 deaths. This number, fortunately, is decreasing over the years due to numerous interventions and education in endemic regions. The life cycle of the Plasmodium parasites has been understood for years; however, recent studies have shown that some individuals are more susceptible to infections while others are more resistant. Plasmodium falciparum, the leading cause of the most severe cases of malaria, has been the topic of these studies. Researchers have found that the ABO blood group antigens may be of significance to susceptibility and resistance in individuals. With this newfound knowledge, the development of new vaccines or drugs can be researched to end the increasing drug resistance to current therapeutics on the market.
P. falciparum is widely transmitted through the Anopheles mosquito bite as a sporozoite. Once inside it begins a vicious life cycle causing acute hemolytic anemia, weakness and fatigue, cyclic fever, other organ issues: lungs and kidneys, even death. The sporozoites enter into the liver to replicate in the hepatocytes. Once that stage is complete, they rupture hepatic cells and become merozoites which invade the RBC’s. Merozoites will start to multiply and mature into trophozoites and schizonts, which eventually rupture the RBC, releasing the the parasites to infect other cells, thus repeating the cyle (Randolph, 2012). Using a defense mechanism, the spleen is able to remove some of the infected cells (McKenzie & Williams, 2010). Splenic macrophages...

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