By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Today, the Health Minister of Kerala State in southwestern India, Shailaja Teacher, tweeted that the state has reported it’s first case of Plasmodium ovale malaria.

Shailaja Teacher/Twitter

She notes, Plasmodium ovale, a new genus of malaria, has been detected in the State. It was found in a soldier who was being treated at the District hospital in Kannur. The soldier had come from Sudan. The spread of the disease can be avoided with timely treatment and preventive measures.

What is Plasmodium ovale?

It is one of five species of Plasmodium that infects humans (P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae and P. knowlesi are the other four).

P. ovale is found mostly in Africa (it’ss endemic to tropical Western Africa and the islands of the western Pacific (rare). It is relatively unusual outside of Africa and comprises less than 1% of isolates where found.

It may be new in Kerala, but it’s not exactly new. In 1922, it was observed in the blood of an East African patient some erythrocytes that were oval and with fimbriated edges. The parasite was named P. ovale in recognition of the oval shape of some of the infected erythrocytes.

It was considered a variant form of Plasmodium vivax at one time due to the pronounced stippling of the infected erythrocyte and its tertian periodicity.

It rarely causes severe illness or death.

Nipah Virus: Study suggests more widespread than previously thought

India reports 2.4 million TB cases in 2019

India: 1st novel coronavirus reported in Kerala

Nipah virus confirmed in Kerala, India

India: Naegleria fowleri death reported in Kerala state