US Health Alert: Florida and Texas Experience Locally Acquired Cases of Malaria
Health Alert Issued as Centers for Disease Control Warns of Mosquito-Transmitted Disease Spread
In a recent health alert, officials have raised concerns about the first locally acquired malaria cases in the United States in two decades, with Florida and Texas being the affected states. The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has emphasized the importance of active surveillance to identify any additional cases.
While the risk of contracting malaria in the US remains extremely low, the CDC has urged vigilance and continued monitoring. All five patients, four in Florida and one in Texas have received appropriate treatment for the disease.
Malaria, a mosquito-transmitted illness, is caused by being bitten by an infected mosquito. It is crucial to note that malaria cannot be transmitted directly between individuals. Instead, the disease is transmitted through mosquitoes infected after biting individuals already carrying the parasite.
While malaria is prevalent in various regions of Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, it is not commonly found in the US. However, the Anopheles mosquitoes, widespread across the country, can transmit malaria if they have previously fed on an infected person.
The risk of transmission is particularly heightened in areas where the climate supports mosquito survival throughout most of the year and where travelers from malaria-endemic regions are present.
Symptoms of malaria include fever, sweats, and chills. Prompt treatment with anti-malarial drugs is essential, as the disease can quickly escalate into a medical emergency if left untreated.
To minimize the risk of mosquito bites, health authorities advise using insect repellents and wearing protective clothing that covers exposed skin.
The CDC is working closely with Florida and Texas health departments, and the recently diagnosed and treated individuals are showing signs of improvement.
In light of the recent cases, US doctors are being advised to consider the possibility of malaria in any patient presenting with an unexplained fever, irrespective of their international travel history. This recommendation holds particularly true for individuals who have visited or reside in Florida or Texas-affected areas.
After discovering malaria cases in Sarasota County and Manatee County, Florida has issued an alert regarding mosquito-borne illnesses. Residents are urged to eliminate standing water, where mosquitoes breed, and to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants for protection.
As the situation unfolds, health authorities remain committed to keeping the public informed and ensuring swift responses to mitigate the spread of malaria in the affected regions.