2022 AMI Online Salon

Malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, and what to look for during diagnosis

Project Details

  • Entrant Name:  Lauren Elder
  • Client:BVIS
  • Copyright: Lauren Elder, 2022
  • Medium/software used:Procreate
  • Final presentation format:poster
  • Primary Audience:healthcare professionals

Project Description

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were an estimated 243 million cases of malaria in 2008, leading to over 863,000 deaths. Though the majority of cases occur in sub-Saharan Africa, half of the world’s population is at risk of contracting malaria. Malaria is a treatable infection, but it is essential that patients receive care promptly to avoid fatality. In 2021, the WHO recommended a global dispersal and use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine to prevent malaria transmission. Regardless of the vaccine, it remains essential to create educational tools about the pathological nature of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, because many at-risk areas may not have access to the vaccine, or may experience vaccine hesitancy due to cultural implications.  The purpose of this illustration is to highlight the pathologic agent of malaria– the Plasmodium parasite. This illustration features two levels of call-outs, the first of which explains that the parasites infect red blood cells, and the second of which shows the life-cycle of the parasite. It is essential to understand both of these pieces of information in order to diagnose malaria through microscopy. The portrait of a young child was chosen to represent a malaria patient, because most deaths from malaria occur in patients under five years of age. The illustration is intended to be presented to medical students and healthcare professionals when learning about malaria.