How many types of malaria are there?
There are four species of malaria parasite that commonly infect humans. These are: Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae. In addition, a fifth species, P. knowlesi, is starting to draw public health attention as an infection in humans in south-east Asia, and particularly Borneo – previously, it was thought to only infect macaque monkeys.
Apart from these five species, there are many other species of Plasmodium, which infect other primates (including gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans), rodents, birds and reptiles. A closely related group of parasites, called Hepatocystis, infects monkeys, squirrels, hippopotamus and bats.