Clinical features and host pathology
While it is difficult to study P. chabaudi in its natural host given the difficulty of taming the thicket rat, it has been studied extensively in laboratory mice, largely using the clone P. chabaudi chabaudi (AS). The pathology resembles that of human malaria in that animals are susceptible to parasite growth and pathology such as anemia, hypoglycemia, changes in body temperature, weight loss, and occasional death. The other cloned strains vary in growth rates and virulence. One unique feature of this species is its prolonged course of infection. While it seems to persist for years in the thicket rat, P. chabaudi (AS) lasts up to three months in BALB/c or C57Bl/6 mice  P. falciparum has been observed to persist for up to a year, and even in conditions of drought when there are no new infections. Other species that are used to model human infection do not have this property. The other unique properties of this parasite are that it is synchronous, as first described for malaria by Galen, and that it prefers to infect normocytes, similar to P. falciparum, the most virulent human parasite, while several of the other rodent parasites have a preference for immature red blood cells, or reticulocytes, which they share with P. vivax.
Two subspecies have been defined: P. chabaudi chabaudi and P. chabaudi adami.
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