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Plasmodium ovale malarial parasite

Date: 14 December 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous


Plasmodium ovale parasite has been identified in a jawan in Kerala. This type of Malaria is endemic to Sudan, where the jawan had allegedly contacted it.



  • 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.

  • Scientists say 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. Symptoms include fever for 48 hours, headache and nausea, and the treatment modality is the same as it is for a person infected with P vivax.

  • It is termed ovale as about 20% of the parasitised cells are oval in shape. Distinguishing between P vivax and P ovale may be tricky.

  • P ovale malaria is endemic to tropical Western Africa.  P ovale is relatively unusual outside of Africa and comprises less than 1% of the isolates.

  • It has also been detected in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, but is still relatively rare in these areas.


Malaria in India

  • In India, high-burden states are Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, and Madhya Pradesh with 1.57 lakh cases.

  • The recent World Malaria Report 2020 said cases in India dropped from about 20 million in 2000 to about 5.6 million in 2019.

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