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n. a genus of protozoans (see Sporozoa) that live as parasites within human red blood cells and liver cells. The parasite undergoes its asexual development (see schizogony) in humans and completes the sexual phase of its development (see sporogony) in the stomach and digestive glands of a bloodsucking Anopheles mosquito. Four species cause malaria: P. vivax, P. ovale, P. falciparum, and P. malariae.

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