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A disease caused by a number of protozoan parasites from the genus Plasmodium and spread by female mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. The four species of Plasmodium which cause malaria are P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae, and P. falciparum.

The disease most commonly occurs in the tropics and subtropics, such as Central America, South America, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, the South Pacific Islands, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Symptoms appear anywhere from a week to a month after the mosquito bite, and include high fever, shaking chills, sweats, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, anemia, and sometimes vomiting and coughing. If left untreated, symptoms progress to fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema), liver failure, kidney failure, brain swelling, coma, and death.

From the BioTech Dictionary at http://biotech.icmb.utexas.edu/. For further information see the BioTech homenode.