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First US Malaria Cases Diagnosed in 20 Years

The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

First US Malaria Cases Diagnosed in 20 Years

Posted 2023-07-19  by  Stephanie Mallory

People have been infected with the disease in Florida and Texas

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said five cases of malaria have been confirmed in Florida and Texas, and it’s the first time in 20 years the disease has been locally acquired in the U.S.

According to Reuters, four cases in Florida and one in Texas have been diagnosed over a period of two months.

Florida’s first case was diagnosed on May 26 in Sarasota County, and a Texas resident who worked outdoors in Cameron County was diagnosed with the disease on June 23.

According to the CDC, anyone with malaria symptoms should be urgently evaluated. But, the CDC said the risk of acquiring malaria in the US is low and that 95% of the infections are acquired in Africa.

Five species of a parasite carried by certain female mosquitoes cause malaria. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, and fatigue. Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting are also possible. Malaria can cause life-threatening damage, including kidney failure, seizures, and coma.

Florida has issued a mosquito-borne illness alert, and recommended that residents drain standing pools of water, make sure their window screens do not have holes in them, and use insecticides that contain DEET to repel mosquitoes. Long-sleeved shirts and pants are also recommended when mosquitoes are present.

Texas has also issued a health alert, advising clinicians to routinely obtain a travel history to determine if a patient with symptoms of malaria has spent time outdoors and been bitten by mosquitoes in an area with malaria activity.

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