Geographical distribution

P. malariae infection overlaps that of P.falciparum including sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, the Western Pacific, and areas of the Amazon Basin of South America.

Detailed geographical information may be accessed here: [1]..

The early trophozoite


  • Small but well-formed rings are typical,
  • A central chromatin dot may occur; in some cases the parasites may appear elongated
  • Red cells are generally of normal size, though occasionally may have reduced volume
  • Pigment will not generally be present at this developmental stage

The late trophozoite


  • Parasites are larger and may be elongated, sometimes forming a band across the red cell
  • Red cells remain round, but size is often reduced
  • Cytoplasmic dots should not be seen but may appear if over stained
  • Pigment can now be seen over the parasite surface

The schizont


  • Schizonts are often detected in blood films from this species
  • The individual merozoites that make up the schizont are generally lower in number than in other species (around 8)
  • Characteristically pigment is central with the merozoites arranged around this forming a “daisy head”
  • At this stage the erythrocyte is devoid of haemoglobin and the small size is readily detected

The gametocyte


  • Gametocytes tend to be regular and round in shape.
  • The parasites are small and do not generally fill the erythrocyte
  • Haemoglobin is absent and pigment overlies the gametocyte


Click here to see gallery of Plasmodium malariae forms