When people think of malaria, they think of 4 major types: Plasmodium Malariae, Plasmodium Vivax, Plasmodium Ovale and Plasmodium Falciparum. A recent publication in Clinical Infectious Diseases says there should be another name added to that list. Plasmodium Knowlesi is a species found in Malaysia and has been often misdiagnosed as P. Malariae.
For a quick re-cap on malaria, vist the Adventure Doc Malaria Page
P. Knowlesi has been previously thought to be a disease of primates and of little importance in humans. This changed in 2004-2005 when Malaysia suffered 4 deaths due to what was believed to be P. Malariae. P. Malariae is not a parasite that is normally associated with mortality. It seems the new fatalities were due to P. Knowlesi infection.
Reccs from the article are to confirm the diagnosis of the more benign P. Malariae in travelers from Malaysia and SE Asia to ensure P. Knowlesi is not missed. Treatment of P. Knowlesi should be as aggressive as P. Falciparum, as well.
The article provides some interesting information and a look at investigations into malaria disease and transmission.
Many thanks to the authors and editors who produced this! Here’s the official citation, too:
Plasmodium knowlesi Malaria in Humans Is Widely
Distributed and Potentially Life Threatening
Janet Cox-Singh, Timothy M. E. Davis, Kim-Sung Lee, Sunita S. G. Shamsul, Asmad Matusop, Shanmuga Ratnam, Hasan A. Rahman, David J. Conway, and Balbir Singh
Clinical Infectious Diseases 2008;46:165–171