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Key Diagnostic Features
Plasmodia (gametocytes)

Diagnostic features of Giemsa stained malaria parasites

Parasite itself:

  • size (in comparison to erythrocyte)
  • shape (circular, ovoid, “banana”)
  • cytoplasm (colour, homogeneous, compact, vacuoles, pigment)
  • nucleus, nuclei (number, chromatin mass, staining pattern)


Parasitized host cell:

  • size (normal, enlarged, smaller)
  • shape (unchanged, oval, irregular edges)
  • cytoplasm (colour, with/without Sch├╝ffner’s dots, Maurer’s clefts)
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Plasmodia (gametocytes)