Caption: Plasmodium falciparum plasmodial young schizont infecting an erythrocyte (red blood cell). Note the red blood cell membrane has small distinct knobs (dark pink) that are characteristic of the infection by certain strains of Plasmodium falciparum. The young schizont stage cytoplasm has a distinct food vacuole (light pink) with hemozoin pigment granules (burgundy). The cytoplasm contains two nuclei (blue), mitochondria (orange), ribosomes (red). In addition Maurer's clefts (turquoise) can be seen in the red blood cell hemoglobin-containing cytoplasm. Malaria is caused by Plasmodium spp., parasitic single-celled protozoans called plasmodia. Malaria is spread to humans by species of tropical mosquitoes (Anopheles species). 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 red blood cells. 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*: x3,810
Type: TEM
Copyright 2007 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
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