Plasmodium falciparum is a unicellular protozoan parasite of humans, and the deadliest species of Plasmodium that causes malaria in humans. The parasite is transmitted through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito and is responsible for around 50% of all malaria cases.
P. falciparum is found in all continents except Europe. The infection is most prevalent in Africa, where 94% of malaria deaths occur.
P. falciparum is regarded as the deadliest parasite in humans, causing 405,000 deaths in 2018. It is also associated with the development of blood cancer (Burkitt’s lymphoma) and is classified as Group 2A carcinogen.
The clinical symptoms of falciparum malaria are produced by the rupture of schizont and destruction of erythrocytes. Most of the patients experience fever (>92% of cases), chills (79%), headaches (70%), and sweating (64%). Dizziness, malaise, muscle pain, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, mild diarrhea, and dry cough are also generally associated. High heartrate, jaundice, pallor, orthostatic hypotension, enlarged liver, and enlarged spleen are also diagnosed.