The protozoan which causes malaria is called Plasmodium. There are four species of protozoan that causes malaria:
- P falciparum
- P vivax
- P ovale
- P malariae
The transmission of the malaria parasite is carried out by female Anopheles mosquitoes which bite usually during the dusk and dawn.
Following is the life cycle of malaria:
- When an infect female Anopheles mosquito bites a person, the mosquito injects the parasite to the bloodstream which is known as Plasmodium which is in the form of sporozoites.
- These sporozoites pass into the human liver quickly.
- The sporozoites take 7 to 10 days for their multiplication through asexual reproduction and during this period there are no signs of symptoms seen.
- The next form of the parasite in the human body is known as merozoites which are released from the liver cells to the lung capillaries where they enter the bloodstream.
- Once they are spread throughout the bloodstream, they start attacking the red blood cells. This goes until the cell bursts and every time the cell bursts, there is a multiplication of merozoites.
- Sexual reproduction also takes place within the bloodstream and these are known as gametocytes.
- When a mosquito bites an infected person, gametocytes are ingested and more mature cells are formed which are known as gametes.
- And the fertilized female gametes carry on the process.
This is the life cycle of malaria and the cycle continues every time a mosquitoes bites a person.