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Malaria is a disease formed by few Plasmodium species which are single-celled parasites that get widen by mosquitos. Once plasmodium access the bloodstream it infects and ruins mainly liver cells and red blood cells which starts a variety of symptoms and sometimes even death. Malaria is a health disease problem that affects millions of people especially young children under the age of five and pregnant women. Malaria belt is the most regions affected which are a broadband around the equator that includes most of Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and south-east Asia. There are a lot of types of Plasmodium species but only five types of the Plasmodium species cause malarial disease in humans. The five species are: Plasmodium falciparum is the greater number species of malaria deaths worldwide and is the most general species in sub-Saharan Africa.
The rest of the species are not regularly dangerous as P. falciparum. Plasmodium vivax is the second most expressive species and it’s usually in Southeast Asia and Latin America. P. vivax and Plasmodium ovale are also dangerous because they rest in the liver stage, which can be reawakened in the non-appearance of a mosquito bite, leading to clinical symptoms. P. ovale and Plasmodium malariae is the most two species with a small number of infections. A fifth species Plasmodium knowlesi it is a species that infect primate organisms. It causes malaria to human but the way it infects them is not clear till now. Life cycle Malaria starts when a Plasmodium-infected female Anopheles mosquito hunts for a blood meal so it bites a human (host).
At this point, the plasmodium is in a stage of development called a sporozoite waiting in the mosquito’s salivary gland. When the mosquito pierces a person’s skin with its long and needle-shaped proboscis the tiny worm-like sporozoites spill out of the mosquito’s saliva into the bloodstream.Within minutes the sporozoites reach the liver and attack its cells. In few days the sporozoites undergo hundreds of nuclear divisions copying its DNA over and over again (asexual reproduction) this is known as schizogony. Over the next 1-2 weeks, the Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium knowlesi sporozoites keep multiplying asexually and mature into merozoites while the host hepatic (liver) cells die.
This is called the exoerythrocytic phase because it happens outside the erythrocytes (red blood cells) and it is generally Asymptomatic. The merozoites are then released into the blood and each one binds to a surface receptor and invades a red blood cell. Once inside the red blood cells, the merozoites undergo asexual reproduction and a series of transformational changes. This phase is known as the erythrocytic phase of malaria and lasts 2-3 days. In the first stage of the erythrocytic phase, the merozoite looks like a tiny ring within the red blood cell and is called trophozoite or ring form. In the second stage, the ring form trophozoite grows and is referred to as a late trophozoite. In the third and final stage, the parasite grows some more by digesting the hemoglobin and leaves behind hemozoin. At this point, the parasite is called schizont.
In this phase, the parasite undergoes mitosis and differentiates into lots of merozoites. The red blood cell then burst open and the merozoites are released into the blood. Some of these merozoites undergo gametogony where they divide and give rise to gametocytes that are sexual forms that can be either male or a female. They remain inside of a red blood cell where they can get sucked up by another female mosquito. They reach the mosquito’s gut and grow a bit more and become mature then they fuse together to form a zygote. This stage is called sporogony. The zygote undergoes some developmental steps until it becomes an oocyst that bursts into the mosquito’s gut releasing sporozoites that make their way to the mosquito’s salivary gland in order to repeat the cycle all over again.
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