When I added a particle system to an object it made the rest of the mesh it was attached to not appear when rendered. However, it is viable in the viewport. I have made sure that the eye and camera icons are checked. I have also checked to make sure that the rendered layers node is attached to the composite node.
By default Blender does have the particle emitter enabled for rendering, though perhaps you have turned it off?
It would be helpful in answering the question if you could provide a .blend that shows the issue. Blender is quite complex and guessing based on a description is not always easy.