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Plasmodium falciparum isolates that form rosettes with uninfected red cells are associated with severe malaria in African children, although the mechanism by which rosetting contributes to severe disease is unknown. Here we have analyzed the relationship between rosetting and parasitemia in two samples of clinical isolates from children with malaria in Kilifi, Kenya. A consistent positive correlation was found between rosetting and parasitemia (Spearman's rank correlation coefficent p = 0.467, P < .001, n = 154, for 1993 study; p = .407, P < .001, n = 74, for 2000 study). Rosetting may enhance parasite growth and survival by facilitating invasion or promoting immune evasion, thus allowing higher parasitemia to develop and increasing the likelihood of severe malaria.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Trop Med Hyg

Publication Date





458 - 460


Animals, Erythrocytes, Humans, Malaria, Falciparum, Parasitemia, Plasmodium falciparum, Reproducibility of Results, Rosette Formation