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Clinical and laboratory features associated with serum phosphate concentrations in malaria and other febrile illnesses

Low serum phosphate levels are often seen in patients with severe infections but the reason for this is not well understood. In this study of patients with malaria and other infections, low phosphate levels were found to be strongly associated with increased body temperature, and to a lesser extent with low platelet count. This was consistent between individuals with malaria, regardless of parasite species or severity, and in individuals with other causes of fever. The results suggest that movement of phosphate from plasma to cells could play a role in increasing body temperature and in platelet activation.
(Image credit: Jason Alden, Aubrey Cunnington and Athina Georgiadou)

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