Caption: Plasmodium falciparum plasmodial schizont, or segmenter, in an erythrocyte (red blood cell) after completion of division. A residual body is left over after division (yellow-green). The red blood cell has lysed and only a ghost red blood cell membrane (no cytoplasm) is seen surrounding the new merozoites that are just being released. Free merozoites can be seen outside the ghost red blood cell membrane. The cytoplasm of the merozoites contains a nucleus (blue), mitochondria (pink) and rhoptry bulbs (red). 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*: x2,810
Type: TEM
Copyright 2007 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
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