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Chapter 7 : Malaria, Another Fever Plague

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Abstract:

I wanted to sit up, but felt that I didn’t have the strength to, that I was paralyzed. The first signal of an imminent attack is a feeling of anxiety, which comes on suddenly and for no clear reason. Something has happened to you, something bad. If you believe in spirits, you know what it is: someone has pronounced a curse, and an evil spirit has entered you, disabling you and rooting you to the ground. Hence the dullness, the weakness, the heaviness that comes over you. Everything is irritating. First and foremost, the light; you hate the light. And others are irritating—their loud voices, their revolting smell, their rough touch. But you don’t have a lot of time for these repugnances and loathings. For the attack arrives quickly, sometimes quite abruptly, with few preliminaries. It is a sudden, violent onset of cold. A polar, arctic cold. Someone has taken you, naked, toasted in the hellish heat of the Sahel and the Sahara and has thrown you straight into the icy highlands of Greenland or Spitsbergen, amid the snows, winds, and blizzards. What a shock! You feel the cold in a split second, a terrifying, piercing, ghastly cold. You begin to tremble, to quake to thrash about. You immediately recognize, however, that this is not a trembling you are familiar with from earlier experiences—when you caught cold one winter in a frost; these tremors and convulsions tossing you around are of a kind that any moment now will tear you to shreds. Trying to save yourself, you begin to beg for help. What can bring relief? The only thing that really helps is if someone covers you. But not simply throws a blanket or quilt over you. The thing you are being covered with must crush you with its weight, squeeze you, flatten you. You dream of being pulverized. You desperately long for a steamroller to pass over you. A man right after a strong attack … is a human rag. He lies in a puddle of sweat, he is still feverish, and he can move neither hand nor foot. Everything hurts; he is dizzy and nauseous. He is exhausted, weak, and limp. Carried by someone else, he gives the impression of having no bones and muscles. And many days must pass before he can get up on his feet again.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Malaria, Another Fever Plague, p 132-160. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch7
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Figures

Image of Figure 7.1
Figure 7.1

A Thai mother attends her sick child suffering from cerebral malaria. Courtesy of Peter Charlesworth.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Malaria, Another Fever Plague, p 132-160. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch7
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Image of Figure 7.2
Figure 7.2

Laveran’s drawing of what he saw under the light microscope when examining a drop of blood from a soldier with chills and fever.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Malaria, Another Fever Plague, p 132-160. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch7
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Image of Figure 7.3
Figure 7.3

Ronald Ross’ pen and ink drawing of a mosquito stomach with oocysts (A), an oocyst bursting to release sporozoites (B) and (C) a salivary gland with sporozoites (labeled by Ross as rods).

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Malaria, Another Fever Plague, p 132-160. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch7
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Image of Figure 7.4 (A)
Figure 7.4 (A)

Method of staining blood film (Courtesy CDC/Dr. Mae Melvin, 1977).

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Malaria, Another Fever Plague, p 132-160. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch7
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Image of Figure 7.4 (B)
Figure 7.4 (B)

Stained blood smear from a patient with falciparum malaria showing a crescent (gametocyte) and 2 red cells infected with ring stages (Courtesy CDC/Steven Glenn, Laboratory Training & Consultation Division, 1979).

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Malaria, Another Fever Plague, p 132-160. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch7
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Image of Figure 7.4 (C)
Figure 7.4 (C)

Thick and thin blood smear stained with Giemsa stain.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Malaria, Another Fever Plague, p 132-160. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch7
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Image of Figure 7.5
Figure 7.5

The world distribution of malaria (prior to the WHO eradication campaign of the 1950s) and that of sickle cell and beta-thalassemia genes. The geographic coincidence provided the suggestion that resistance to falciparum malaria might be of evolutionary significance and that the presence of malaria tended to maintain genes responsible for some deleterious blood diseases at higher frequencies in some populations.

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Malaria, Another Fever Plague, p 132-160. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch7
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Image of Figure 7.6
Figure 7.6

The worldwide distribution of malaria in the 1930s prior to the WHO eradication campaigns of the 1940s and 1950s. From I. W. Sherman. Malaria: Parasite Biology, Pathogenesis and Protection (Washington, DC: ASM Press, 1998)

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Malaria, Another Fever Plague, p 132-160. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch7
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Image of Figure 7.7
Figure 7.7

The inheritance of sickle cell hemoglobin. The mating of two individuals with the sickle cell trait (AS) produces three possible offspring: normal (AA), sickle cell trait (AS) and sickle cell anemia (SS).

Citation: Sherman I. 2017. Malaria, Another Fever Plague, p 132-160. In The Power of Plagues, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670018.ch7
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