An illustration of the life cycle of the malaria parasite. Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by protists of the genus Plasmodium. The protists first infect the liver, then act as parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases progressing to coma or death. The disease is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions in a broad band around the equator, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Five species of Plasmodium can infect and be transmitted by humans.
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