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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Malaria. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Plasmodium History - Ancient Times

The NeiChing (The Canon of Medicine) has the first apparent mention of malaria-like symptoms recorded around 4700 BCE. The document included malaria treatments such as the use of the Qinghao plant to reduce fever.
Plasmodium malariae has been recognized since the Greek and Roman civilizations over 2,000 years ago. The patterns of fever in patients (quartan, tertian, and semitertian) were described by the early Greeks. Hippocrates recorded the manifestations of malaria in the 4th century BCE and additionally the time of year and place where victims fell ill. Also, Hippocrates was supposedly the first to distinguish the intermittent fever of malaria from the continual fever of other infectious diseases. Malaria has been long known to be associated with swamps. It was hypothesized that malaria was transmitted by wind and its modern name in English is derived from the Italian mal’aria’ from mala aria, literally meaning “bad air.” The first possible use of the name was by Italian physician Francisco Torti in the 17th to 18th century.