QUESTION where did malaria come from? ANSWER Malaria is a disease caused by a single-celled parasite called Plasmodium. There are many species of Plasmodium, which infect many other animals as well as humans. The types of malaria which infect humans probably evolved from similar Plasmodium species in monkeys and apes; for example, P. vivax is closely related to several species of malaria … [Read more...]
New Malaria Parasites
QUESTION I heard researchers have found a new malaria parasite—what is the name? ANSWER New malaria parasites are found quite regularly—the parasite that causes malaria, Plasmodium, actually infects birds, reptiles, rodents and non-human primates like monkeys and apes as well as humans. As such, non-human forms of malaria are discovered relatively frequently in other species. … [Read more...]
Evolution of Malaria
QUESTION how did malaria evolve? ANSWER Malaria in humans probably evolved independently several times, and both times likely due to a cross-over event from a closely related primate malaria. For example, Plasmodium vivax is evolutionarily closely related to several species of malaria found in macaque monkeys in south-east Asia, and so a cross-over of one of those species into human, with … [Read more...]
Where did malaria start in Africa?
QUESTION Where did malaria start in Africa? ANSWER Malaria has been present in Africa for tens of thousands of years; given this ancient history, it is very difficult to know exactly where it first entered the continent. Also, there are several different types of malaria in Africa, which have likely had different histories, and malaria researchers continually unearth new evidence … [Read more...]
How many types of malaria are there?
QUESTION How many types of malaria are there? ANSWER 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 … [Read more...]