Malaria may have come from cimpanzees

Malaria is a vector-borne infectious disease caused by a protozoan parasite called Plasmodium. Usually spread via the bites of infected mosquitoes. The parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells. It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, including parts of the Americas, Asia, and Africa.

The symptoms including fever, headache, and vomiting, and usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite. If not treated early, malaria can quickly become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs.

Reuters report today (4th August 2009) that researchers said on Monday that Malaria may have jumped to humans from chimpanzees. They hope they can develop a vaccine against the infection. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Malaria kills an estimated 1 million people a year, mostly children, and causes severe disease in more than 300 million every year.

The researchers found evidence the parasite that causes most cases of malaria is a close genetic relative of a parasite found in chimpanzees.

Further reading at reuters



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