Taxonomy: f. Plasmodidae
Animal: Plasmodium falciparum 2 02.jpg
Sites: Blood
Plasmodium falciparum thin film - note band form in tail of film, an unusual form. Although at the tail of the film, red cells both parasitized and non-parasitized may be artificially distorted in shape, it is important to note that the parasitized red cells are not enlarged or mis-shapened unlike red cells infected with P.vivax. Band forms are likely to be found in parts of the film where the blood dries quickly, where distortions of the parasite either natural from their ameoboid activity or artificial from physical stresses during the spreading of the blood result in the organisms being fixed before they can resume their normal or resting form. It is important to examine both thick and thin films and when the clinical indications and history of the patient are strong, that repeat blood collections be made over a 36 hour period before ruling out a malaria infection. The history of the patient especially the drug history is important for infections of P.falciparum which is usually the only species that can rapidly lead to death. Finger prick collection is preferred as P.falciparum especially accumulates in capillaries and also anticoagulant can distort the parasites. Accurate species identification is essential for correct treatment to be adminstered. (see parasitology textbooks such as Garcia and Bruckner 1997 for details)

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