Malaria Home > Malaria Virus

There is no "malaria virus" that causes the disease. Malaria is caused by infection with a parasite from the genus Plasmodium. Out of over 100 types of Plasmodium parasites, only the following 4 infect humans: Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium vivax, and Plasmodium malariae.

Malaria Virus: A Summary

There is no malaria virus that causes malaria. Instead of a malaria virus, the cause of malaria is an infection with a parasite. A parasite is a microscopic organism that lives within another organism (known as a host), but provides no benefit to the host. The specific parasites that cause malaria come from the genus Plasmodium, and the parasite hosts include both animals (such as reptiles, birds, and various mammals), and a specific species of mosquitoes known as Anopheles. While there are over 100 types of Plasmodium parasites, only 4 infect humans. These include:
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Plasmodium ovale
  • Plasmodium vivax
  • Plasmodium malariae.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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