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Pathogenesis of Malaria

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Malaria is an infectious disease that kills close to a million children every year (Miller, Ackerman, Su, & Wellems, 2013). Although there are several different species of malaria this paper is going to be addressing Plasmodium falciparum, the most fatal of the species. The parasitic infection of P. falciparum can lead to many negative effects including death. This paper will explore the ways in which the disease in contracted, the risk factors as well as the pathogenesis of the parasite and ultimately the potential treatment options based on the progression of the disease process.
Causative Agent, Mode of Transmission and Risk Factors
P. falciparum is a protozoan parasite that once it has infected its human host causes the disease known as Malaria (Lehne, 2013, p.1238). This particular species of the genus Plasmodium is believed to stem from over one hundred thousand years ago (Carucci, 2004). These protozoan parasites are transferred to the human host by way of a vector in the form of a female Anopheles where the parasite resides in the saliva and is released when the insect feeds on a humans blood (Miller et al., 2013). The mosquito acquires this parasite by the same means of feeding on an infected host where the protozoa is ingested, grows and multiples in the stomach and upon maturation it shifts to the salivary glands to be spread to the next human host (Kyes, Horrocks, & Newbold, 2001).
There are many risk factors for contracting the parasite including living in or traveling to countries where malaria is endemic, not taking the proper precautions such as insect repellent and areas with large amounts of standing water which are sites of mosquito breeding (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2010).
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