Health officials have issued a warning about the emergence of locally acquired malaria cases in Florida and Texas, marking the first instances of mosquito-transmitted malaria within the United States in two decades. The Centres for Disease Control (CDC)” have emphasised the need for ongoing active surveillance to identify additional cases. Despite this development, the CDC assures the public that the risk of contracting malaria in the US remains extremely low.
The five affected patients, four in Florida and one in Texas, have all received treatment. Malaria is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites and cannot be transmitted from person to person. However, mosquitoes become infected by biting individuals who are already infected, thus perpetuating the transmission cycle.
While malaria is prevalent in large regions of Asia, Africa, and Central and South America, it is not common in the US. Nevertheless, certain species of mosquitoes, such as Anopheles, which are found in various parts of the country, can transmit malaria if they have previously bitten an infected person. The risk of transmission is higher in areas where the climate allows mosquitoes to survive for most of the year and where individuals travelling from malaria-endemic areas are present.
Symptoms of malaria include fever, sweats, and chills. Timely treatment is crucial and involves administering medications to eliminate the parasite causing the infection. Employing insect repellents and wearing protective clothing can help reduce the risk of mosquito bites.
The CDC is collaborating with health departments in Florida and Texas to address the situation, and those who have been recently diagnosed and treated are reported to be showing signs of improvement. Medical practitioners in the US are advised to consider malaria as a potential cause of unexplained fever in individuals, regardless of their travel history, particularly if they have visited or reside in the affected areas of Florida or Texas.
In response to the discovery of cases in “Sarasota County” and “Manatee County,” Florida has issued an alert regarding mosquito-borne illnesses. The alert advises residents to eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed and to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants for added protection.