NEW YORK (AP) – The United States has seen five cases of mosquito-borne malaria in the past two months – the first time it has been spread locally in 20 years.
Four cases were detected in Florida and one in Texas, according to a health alert issued Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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.
Health officials are warning doctors to be aware of the possibility of infection, especially in southern states where the climate is more favorable to the tropical mosquito that spreads malaria. The CDC said they must also think about how to access the IV drug that is the first-line treatment for severe malaria in the United States.
The agency said those diagnosed received treatment and “are doing well.”
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, 11 cases of mosquito-borne malaria have been reported in the US, the last occurring in 2003 in Palm Beach County, Florida, where eight cases were reported.
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