Important new research on Vivax Malaria released at Phys.org

While falciparum malaria remains the leading killer, vivax is the most geographically widespread malarial parasite. Due to lower mortality rates associated with P. vivax compared with P. falciparum, vivax malaria has been referred to in the past as “benign tertian malaria,” though Escalante insists this is a misnomer. “People are starting to see vivax with different eyes. It’s more aggressive. It may not be as aggressive as falciparum, but there’s nothing benign about it.”

Indeed, severe health complications associated with vivax malaria may be more common than once appreciated and include anemia, low neonatal birth weight and a dangerous decrease in the amount of platelets in the blood (a condition known as thrombocytopenia). Additionally, the complex nature of P. vivax infection makes eradication challenging. The disease is contagious very early in the infection process, increasing the probability of transmission while a patient is still pre-clinical and symptom-free.

via Malaria in the Americas presents a complex picture.

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