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Malaria is one of the world's most serious infectious diseases, causing over 1,000,000 deaths annually. It is caused by protozoa of the genus Plasmodium, 4 of which cause human disease: P. vivax, P. falciparum, P. ovale and P. malariae. It is a vector-borne disease requiring the mosquito for part of the pathogen's life cycle.  Pathogenesis mainly involves lysis of red blood cells and release of toxic cell contents.



Comparison of malarial pathogens