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Malaria Diagnosis and the Plasmodium Life Cycle: the BFO Perspective

Abstract

Definitive diagnosis of malaria requires the demonstration through laboratory tests of the presence within the patient of malaria parasites or their components. Since malaria parasites can be present even in the absence of malaria, and since symptoms of malaria can be manifested even in the absence of malaria parasites, malaria diagnosis raises important issues for the adequate understanding of disease, etiology and diagnosis. One approach to the resolution of these issues adopts a realist view, according to which the needed clarifications will be derived from a careful representation of the entities on the side of the patient which form the ultimate truthmakers for clinical statements. We address a challenge to this realist approach relating to the diagnosis of malaria, and show how this challenge can be resolved by appeal to Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) and to the Ontology for General Medical Science (OGMS) constructed in its terms

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