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This chapter deals with malaria causing parasites and vectors. Malaria is a pyrogenic (fever-producing) disease caused by infection with one of four species of parasitic protozoa in the genus Plasmodium and is the most important arthropod-transmitted pathogen in the world today, in terms of numbers of cases, deaths, and economic burden. Acquired from the bite of an infective Anopheles mosquito or from infected blood products, malarial parasites continue to suppress development in Africa and parts of Asia and are emerging as a critical health issue in tropical Central and South America. Four species vivax, m ovale, malariae, and falciparum may be identified, in part, by clinical symptoms such as the pattern of fever and chills, morphology, and staining characteristics of the parasite within red blood cells, antigenic properties determined by serology, or genetic sequence. Only female mosquitoes in the genus Anopheles serve as definitive hosts for the four species of human malarial parasites. Of these, species in the subgenus Cellia account for most of the current global transmission and include members of the Anopheles gambiae complex (. gambiae, arabiensis) and An. funestus in sub-Saharan Africa, and the An. culicifacies complex, An. fl uviatilis complex, An. stephensi, and An. minimus in Asia. Historically, the An. maculipennis complex was important in the Mediterranean and Europe, whereas species in other subgenera such as An. darlingi and An. albitaris have been responsible for the resurgence of malaria in South America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Insects
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9780123741448
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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