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Volume 27, Number 2—February 2021
From the Latin falx or falci (sickle or scythe-shaped) and parum (like or equal to another) or parere (to bring forth or bear). The species falciparum in the genus Plasmodium is the parasite that causes malignant tertian malaria in humans (Figure).
There were many terms suggested for this parasite, such as Ematozoo falciforme by Antolisei and Angelini in 1890 and Haemotozoon falciforme by Thayer and Hewetson in 1895, because of its sickle-shaped gametocytes, the sexual stage of falciparum parasites. However, the term falciparum, suggested by William Henry Welch in 1897, was eventually accepted. In 1954, Plasmodium falciparum (previously Laverania malariae) was approved by International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.
- Bruce-Chwatt LJ. Falciparum nomenclature. Parasitol Today. 1987;3:252.
- Christophers R, Sinton JA. Correct name of malignant tertian parasite. BMJ. 1938;2:1130–4.
- Dorland’s illustrated medical dictionary. 32nd ed. Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier; 2012. p. 678.
Suggested citation for this article: Tiwari A, Singh A. Etymologia: Falciparum. Emerg Infect Dis. 2021 Feb [date cited]. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2702.ET2702
Original Publication Date: January 08, 2021