Plasmodium Ovale: Uncommon type of Malaria
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health & GS-III – Sci & Tech
- A not very common type of malaria, Plasmodium ovale, has been identified in a soldier in Kerala.
- The soldier is believed to have contracted it during his posting in Sudan, from where he returned nearly a year ago, and where Plasmodium ovale is endemic.
Important value addition
- Malaria is caused by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito, if the mosquito itself is infected with a malarial parasite.
- There are five kinds of malarial parasites — Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax (the commonest ones), Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium knowlesi.
- P ovale rarely causes severe illness and there is no need for panic because of the case detected in Kerala.
- P ovale is very similar to P vivax, which is not a killer form. It is no more dangerous than getting a viral infection.
- Symptoms: Fever for 48 hours, headache and nausea
- It is termed ovale as about 20% of the parasitised cells are oval in shape.
- P ovale malaria is endemic to tropical Western Africa.
- It is relatively unusual outside of Africa.