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New monkey malaria potentially fatal to humans.

New monkey malaria potentially fatal to humans. Researchers in Malaysia have found that an emerging new form of malaria is widespread among humans in the region. The researchers conducted a prospective study to identify key laboratory and clinical features of the new form of malarial infection, which is caused by the mosquito parasite Plasmodium knowlesi, previously thought to infect only monkeys, particularly the long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques that live in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. The study showed that the parasite is also widespread among humans in Malaysia, which--with further reports from neighboring countries--has led experts to recognize P knowlesi as the fifth cause of malaria in humans. Infection by P knowlesi is potentially fatal because the parasites reproduce every 24 hours in the blood, making early diagnosis and treatment essential. There are many species of malaria parasite, four of which commonly cause disease in humans, the most deadly being P falciparum, found mostly in African countries. Another species is P malariae, which usually causes milder symptoms and is found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. The researchers, who published the study in the September 2009 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, say P knowlesi malaria can easily be confused with P malariae since parasites look similar by microscopy, but the latter causes a benign form of malaria.

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Title Annotation:Zoonotics
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:9MALA
Date:Mar 1, 2010
Words:219
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