Multiple infection of red blood corpuscles is of common occurrence, particularly in heavy infections. It is much more common in malignant tertian than in benign tertian infections, while in the case of quarten infections it is very rare. Binary fission of the malaria plasmodia during their early development within the red blood cells has been recently offered as an explanation for the phenomenon of multiple infections.
Though binary fission is the normal method of reproduction in certain protozoa, spore-formation in schizogony has always been considered as the normal method of reproduction in the asexual phase of malaria plasmodia. A characteristic of reproduction is that it takes place in maturity and not in infancy, whether it is by equal division, unequal division or multiple division. Writing about reproduction of a cell, Calkins observes: “Ultimately its possibilities of further vitality as a single individual are exhausted and it undergoes its final manifestation of vitality.
Regional Malariologist, Pattukkottai, Public Health Department, Madras, India.