Federal health authorities have issued a warning about the possibility of the mosquito-borne illness spreading within the country’s borders after the confirmation of malaria infections in persons who did not travel abroad for the first time in 20 years.
It was determined that five individuals in Sarasota County, Florida, and one individual in Cameron County, Texas, contracted the illness between late May and late June by local transmission. Health officials are keeping an eye out for any new instances, but everyone has received treatment and is already recuperating. The chance of contracting malaria in the US “remains extremely low,” according to the CDC. Nevertheless, authorities advised Americans to be aware of the risk and take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
Brian Grimberg, an associate professor of pathology and global health at Case Western Reserve University, stated, “It’s not panic time. “I believe that being aware is the message. Americans, in particular, rarely consider malaria unless they are travelling abroad. Fever, headaches, chills, and flu-like symptoms are among the major illnesses caused by malaria. Across 240 million infections occur annually all across the world, with 95 percent of them taking place in African nations.
The CDC was established in order to stop the spread of malaria in the United States, where it was formerly a significant threat to public health. Grimberg claimed that those efforts were mostly effective and that malaria no longer posed a serious threat as a result of the use of the pesticide DEET, the draining of marshes, and other measures. The CDC reported that eight people became sick in Palm Beach County, Florida, in 2003, which was the most recent incident of local transmission to be positively identified.
The species of mosquito in the five instances discovered between May and June has been determined to be P. vivax, which is less likely to transmit serious illness. However, delaying treatment can result in recurrent episodes. Medication that is often freely accessible in the United States is used to treat malaria. Health expertsadvice those who think they may be affected to seek evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment as soon as symptoms appear.
Grimberg stated, “If properly handled, you can recover swiftly. The CDC advises the public to use insect repellent, use screens on windows and doors, and empty water-holding objects like tyres, bird baths, buckets, and trash cans at least once a month to reduce the risk of contracting malaria and other mosquito-borne infections. Travellers should bring bug spray, stay in accommodations with air conditioning or window and door screens, or use a mosquito net to sleep at night.
The organization advises hospitals to stock up on medications and have access to malaria tests, and it advises public health officials to create a plan for quick detection, prevention, and control.