Plasmodium Malariae: Symptoms & Treatment

Instructor: Ebony Potts

Ebony has taught middle and high school physical science, life science & biology. She's also been an assistant principal and has a doctorate in educational administration.

Have you ever heard of an illness called malaria? Do you know what organism causes it and what the symptoms are? You will learn the answers to these questions and more in this lesson.

Tropical Mission

Imagine that you have been dropped off in the tropics of South America on an outreach mission. While there, you interact with the people of the area, help build schools, and teach those around you valuable skills. You are so glad that you didn't pay attention to your mother and her senseless fear about you catching some weird tropical disease! As you become more comfortable you even start to lessen the amount of insect repellent you use on a daily basis. You can't stand the smell of it, and you don't see anyone else slathered in it!

A couple weeks go by, and one morning you just don't feel like yourself. You wake with a fever and chills. You let your mission leader Jasmine know, and she urges you to stay in your room and get some rest. As the day progresses, you start to feel worse and begin to worry. The team doctor, Dr. Jenkins, comes in to check on you, and confirms that you have malaria. Oh no! You think to yourself, maybe I should have listened to my mother after all!

You have many, many questions. How did this happen? What is going to happen to me? Will I survive? How did I get malaria? Dr. Jenkins urges you to calm down. She tells you that she will explain everything, and will get you the medical attention you need.

Plasmodium Malariae

You learn that your illness is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium Malariae. A parasite is an organism that lives in or on another organism (the host), to the detriment of that organism. The parasite Plasmodium Malariae is living in your body, and will cause you harm if not treated quickly and effectively. Dr. Jenkins informs you that the organism that is causing your illness is one of 100 total species of Plasmodium, and is found all over the world.


Female Anopheles Mosquito

Plasmodium Malariae is transmitted when the vector, or transmission agent (in this case, a female anopheles mosquito), bites a potential host. As the female drinks the blood of the host, she transmits the Plasmodium Malariae parasite into the body of the host. The mosquito can also pick up new parasites from others who are already infected, and spread them to a new potential host. It can take 7-10 days before the host starts to have any symptoms from the transmission of the Plasmodium Malariae into its body.


The strain of malaria that is caused by Plasmodium Malariae is know as quartan malaria or Quartan Fever, named because it is usually accompanied by a fever that reoccurs in three day periods. Along with cycles of fever, most infected people experience nausea and chills. If untreated, Plasmodium Malariae can cause a long-lasting, chronic infection that can last a lifetime. Plasmodium Malariae can also cause nephrotic syndrome. Nephrotic syndrome is a kidney disorder that causes those infected to excrete too much protein in their urine.

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