Sample Term Paper

Malaria occurs in two steps. In the first step, the infected mosquito bites a person, allowing the parasites to enter the victim’s bloodstream. The parasites entering the victim are known as sporozoites (literally “seed animals”). They develop inside the mosquito’s salivary glands. The sporozoites travel to the liver, where they infect the liver cells (hepatocytes) and multiply inside these cells for a period of 6-15 days without any noticeable effects on the host. It is here that they develop into merozoites, which are the daughter cells of the parasite and the agents that actually cause all the damage. This is known as the exoerythrocytic phase, since it does not involve the erythrocytes (red blood cells). As we will see, it is the effect of the parasites on the erythrocytes that brings about the symptoms of the disease.

             The second stage is known as the erythrocytic phase. After the aforementioned period of time, the merozoites rupture their host cells and invade the bloodstream, infecting the red blood cells in a way similar to the earlier infection of the hepatocytes. They enter the cells, multiply inside and eventually rupture the cells and infect new ones. It is the ‘waves’ of merozoites rupturing and infecting the red blood cells that cause the repeated cycles of fever to occur. The ruptured blood cells release hemoglobin, causing anemia and hemoglobinuria.

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