New Malaria Case Reported in Florida

( – Malaria is a disease transmitted to humans by a certain kind of mosquito infected by a parasite. People with the illness typically experience flu-like symptoms, and it can prove fatal if not properly treated. Roughly 2,000 cases are reported annually in the United States by immigrants or travelers returning from other countries where transmission of the infection occurs. Health officials recently reported a new case in Florida — but it’s a “locally acquired” form of the disease, something that hasn’t been seen in the US for a couple of decades.

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) publishes weekly tracking notices detailing the number of reported cases of seven mosquito-borne diseases, including dengue and malaria. The DOH tracked seven cases of LAM so far this year, as noted below.

  • Week 21 (Week ending May 27): One;
  • Week 24 (WE June 17): One;
  • Week 25 (WE June 24): Two;
  • Week 26 (WE July 1): Two;
  • Week 28 (WE July 15): One.

On June 26, the Florida DOH issued a statewide “mosquito-borne illness advisory.” The notice instructed Floridians to apply bug spray before going outdoors, avoid locations with large numbers of mosquitos, and wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts whenever possible.

Likewise, the CDC issued a similar official health advisory the same day. The notice cited the four Florida cases reported during weeks 21, 24, and 25. Additionally, Texas reported one case of LAM on June 24. It noted that the Center was working with the involved state health departments with their ongoing investigations in their respective outbreaks. The CDC also reported that there wasn’t any evidence suggesting the Texas case of LAM was related to the Florida ones.

The CDC recommends that people experiencing symptoms of malaria should see a physician about getting tested “without delay.” People typically experience chills, fever, headaches, malaise, muscle aches, sweats, nausea, and vomiting at the beginning stage of the disease.

Dr. Monica Parise, the head of the CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria (DPDM), recently told NBC News that malaria outbreaks in the US are typically “relatively small and contained.” She said there’s no evidence indicating that the Florida outbreak will behave differently.

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