Light Microscopic Changes in Plasmodium falciparum from Gabonese Children Treated with Artemether

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  • Parasitology, Mycology, Tropical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Parasitology, Mycology, Faculty of Medicine, Libreville, Gabon

The changes in Plasmodium falciparum in four Gabonese children suffering from severe malaria and treated with pure artemether were observed in thin blood smears fixed and stained with Giemsa and examined by light microscopy. Peripheral blood samples were taken every 8 hr up to 72 hr from three children and every 3 hr up to 9 hr from the other child. The morphologic changes involved all development stages (trophozoites, schizonts, and gametocytes); they were first seen 3 hr after the start of treatment and all parasites were abnormal after 24 hr. After two days of treatment, all infected erythrocytes disappeared except for a few with necrotic trophozoites. The morphologic changes were similar to the ultrastructural changes previously described in vivo and in vitro in experimental models. They confirm the rapid effect of artemisinin derivatives on parasite clearance and clinical recovery, particularly in cases of cerebral malaria.