Blood/Blood Cells and Cellular Components ›› Red Blood Cells ›› Abnormal


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Microscopic Features:
  • Multiple parasites may be present within an RBC
  • Round to oval ring-shaped and mostly intracellular parasites in RBCs (noted by the yellow arrows)
  • The organisms may form a "Maltese cross" after division into four organisms (noted by the Red arrrow)
Normal % blood-PB, marrow-BM, lymphoid tissue-LN:
  • PB: None
  • BM: None
  • LN: None
May Resemble:
  • Malaria infection [Compare]
  • Howell-Jolly body [Compare]
  • Pappenheimer bodies [Compare]
  • Bacterial contamination [Compare]
  • Platelet(s) overlying red blood cell
  • Artifacts (e.g. Stain precipitate)
Differential Diagnoses:

Platelet overlying a RBC (pseudo-parasite)

Classic Immunophenotype:
  • N/A
Cartoon Image:

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  • Distinguished from malaria by having a tetrad arrangement which is usually diagnostic of babesia Intracellular parasite (infects RBCs)

Content Editors/Website Administrators:
Hooman H. Rashidi, MD; John C. Nguyen, MD