Plasmodium falciparum ring stage, SEM

Plasmodium falciparum ring stage, SEM

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Credit: DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Plasmodium falciparum ring stage inside lysed red blood cell (erythrocyte), scanning electron micrograph (SEM). The lysed red blood cell membrane is seen covering the developing ring stage of Plasmodium falciparum. Malaria is caused by Plasmodium sp. parasitic single-celled protozoans called plasmodia. Malaria is spread to humans by tropical mosquitoes (Anopheles sp). Infection spreads from the liver to the blood, where the plasmodium multiplies inside red blood cells. The plasmodial parasite reproduces asexually in the red blood cells significantly destroying many of them. There are four stages of the parasite that develop in human red blood cells, merozoite stage, ring stage, trophozoite stage and schizont stage. Release of mature Plasmodium merozoites results in further infection and produces bouts of shivering fever (paroxysms) and sweating that may be fatal. Magnification: x8,000 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.

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