Innovations in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences

Plasmodium Ovale and Other types of Malaria

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Plasmodium parasite

Mains level : Malaria in India

A not very common type of malaria, Plasmodium Ovale, has been identified in a jawan in Kerala.

Try this PYQ:

Q. Widespread resistance of malarial parasite to drugs like chloroquine has prompted attempts to develop a malarial vaccine to combat malaria.

Why is it difficult to develop an effective malaria vaccine?

(a) Malaria is caused by several species of Plasmodium

(b) Man does not develop immunity to malaria during natural infection

(c) Vaccines can be developed only against bacteria

(d) Man is only an intermediate host and not the definitive host

What is Malaria?

  • 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.
  • Therefore, to say that someone has contracted the Plasmodium ovale type of malaria means that the person has been infected by that particular parasite.
  • Malaria is treated with prescription drugs to kill the parasite. Chloroquine is the preferred treatment for any parasite that is sensitive to the drug.

Plasmodium Ovale

  • P ovale rarely causes severe illness and there is no need for panic.
  • 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.
  • P ovale is no more dangerous than getting a viral infection.
  • It is termed ovale as about 20% of the parasitised cells are oval in shape.

Burden of Malaria in India

  • In 2018, the National Vector-borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) estimated that approximately 5 lakh people suffered from malaria.
  • 63% of the cases were of Plasmodium falciparum.
  • 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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