The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health are warning residents after four cases of mosquito-borne malaria were treated in the state.
The Florida Department of Health issued an advisory Monday after four cases of malaria were confirmed in Sarasota County on the state’s west coast.
All those infected were treated and recovered, but officials said spraying was being done in the area to reduce the risk of further transmission.
“Residents across the state should take precautions such as applying bug spray, staying away from areas with high mosquito populations, and wearing long pants and shirts whenever possible — especially during sunrise and sunset when mosquitoes are most numerous,” the department said in a statement. become more active.”
A preliminary malaria advisory was issued in Sarasota County after the first case was reported in late May. Then came the second case, and then two more cases, said Jay Williams, press secretary for the Florida Department of Health.
“As soon as it passed one to two confirmed cases, it switched to an alert,” Williams said, comparing it to the system of issuing a hurricane alert versus a hurricane warning — when a storm is imminent.
“Listen, the conditions are favorable,” Williams continued. “It’s not just some evil mosquito. People need to pay attention.”
Williams said health officials are proactive.
“We know we are going into the Fourth of July holiday. “We know that summers are going to be even hotter and wetter over the next few months,” Williams said. “So we just wanted to give a big warning to Floridians, to alert the whole state.”
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According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a fifth case of malaria was reported in Texas. The CDC said there is no evidence that this year’s cases in Florida and Texas are related.
The malaria cases represent the first local outbreak in 20 years.
About 2,000 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the US each year – most of them among travelers arriving from countries where malaria commonly circulates.
Since 1992, there have been 11 cases of mosquito-borne malaria in the US. The last time eight cases of malaria were reported in Palm Beach County was in 2003.
Malaria is caused by a parasite that is transmitted through mosquito bites. Infected people may have fever, chills and flu-like illness. If it is not treated, infected people can develop serious complications and die. Sub-Saharan Africa has seen the largest number of child deaths in recent years.
How can I prevent mosquito infestation in my home?
The Department of Health has several suggestions for preventing mosquitoes.
Residents are asked to drain and cover standing water to prevent mosquito breeding and mosquito-borne disease.
Be sure to remove water from trash cans, house drains, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers that collect sprinkler or rainwater.
You should also discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, utensils, broken tools, and other items that are not being used.
Empty and clean birdbaths and pet water bowls at least once or twice a week, and protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarpaulins that prevent water from pooling.
If you have a swimming pool, keep it in good condition and properly chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
You should also make sure to cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home. If necessary, repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios.
How can I protect myself from mosquito borne diseases?
Cover your skin with cloth or repellent to prevent mosquito-borne diseases.
Wear shoes, socks and long pants and long sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who have to work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use the repellant according to the label. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-methane-diol, 2-undecanone, and IR3535 are effective.
Use mosquito nets to keep babies younger than two months away from insects.
Tips on Using Repellent
When using mosquito repellent, always read label instructions for approved use carefully before use, and remember that some repellents are not suitable for children.
Products with concentrations of up to 30% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m(1)toluamide) are generally recommended, according to the Florida DOH.
Other US Environmental Protection Agency approved repellents include picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone or IR 3535. These products are usually available at local pharmacies.
Be sure to apply insect repellent to exposed skin or clothing, but not under clothing.
For the safety of children, read label directions to make sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol should not be used on children under the age of three. DEET is not recommended for children younger than two months.
Avoid getting repellant on children’s hands. Adults should apply repellent to their hands first and then apply it to the child’s skin and clothing.
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