Plasmodium (protozoin parasite) that cause malaria in humans. It is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito.
Detailed view :
The infection starts, when a female mosquito injects (in her saliva) "sporozoites" (one form of P. falciparum) into human skin while taking a blood meal. A sporozoite travels (in the bloodstream) into the liver where it invades a liver cell. It matures into a "schizont" (mother cell) which produces 30000–40000 "merozoites" (daughter cells) within six days. The merozoites burst out and invade red blood cells. Within two days one merozoite transforms into a trophozoite, then into a schizont and finally 8–24 new merozoites burst out from the schizont and the red cell as it ruptures. Then the merozoites invade new red cells. P. falciparum can prevent an infected red cell from going to the spleen (the organ where old and damaged red cells are destroyed) by sending adhesive proteins to the cell membrane of the red cell. The proteins make the red cell to stick to small blood vessel walls. This poses a threat for the human host since the clustered red cells might create a blockage in the circulation system.