Alarming: Malaria Finds Its Way Back Into the United States
Malaria is a disease that has always affected many parts of the world. The US over the last 20 years successfully eradicated the disease but there have been recent cases of people who were infected that had not traveled outside the country. This is cause for alarm because people that were found to be infected before this had also traveled outside the U.S.
Malaria, a potentially deadly disease caused by a mosquito-borne parasite, is making inroads into the US.
Five new cases of malaria — one in Texas and four in Florida — are alarming officials because they were locally acquired, meaning a mosquito in the US was carrying the parasite.
That hasn’t happened since 2003 in Palm Beach County, Florida, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention.
Almost all cases of malaria now seen in the US are from people who traveled outside the country, where they were exposed to disease-carrying mosquitoes.
But these five new cases — seen in people who hadn’t traveled abroad — raise fears that local mosquitoes could be spreading the disease to other people. Read more from New York Post…
Malaria is a mosquito-borne illness, which means it is spread by mosquitoes that carry the parasite. Here is some more information you should know:
How Malaria is transmitted
Malaria is transmitted to people by a bite from an infected mosquito, more specifically, a female mosquito that carries the parasite. A mosquito can also bite an infected person and then carry and transmit the parasite to another person that they also bite.
Usually, people get malaria by being bitten by an infective female Anopheles mosquito. Only Anopheles mosquitoes can transmit malaria and they must have been infected through a previous blood meal taken from an infected person. When a mosquito bites an infected person, a small amount of blood is taken in which contains microscopic malaria parasites. About 1 week later, when the mosquito takes its next blood meal, these parasites mix with the mosquito’s saliva and are injected into the person being bitten.
Because the malaria parasite is found in red blood cells of an infected person, malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, organ transplant, or the shared use of needles or syringes contaminated with blood. Malaria may also be transmitted from a mother to her unborn infant before or during delivery (“congenital” malaria) Read more from CDC…
Mosquitoes are not the only transmitters of this disease. Malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusions, as well as from mother to child during pregnancy.
What are the symptoms of malaria?
Malaria causes fever, headaches, joint pains, tiredness, sweats, chills, nausea, and vomiting among other symptoms. Most infected people may not show symptoms of malaria even though they are carrying the disease.
In the early stages, malaria symptoms are sometimes similar to those of many other infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. It can start with flu-like symptoms.
Symptoms may include:
- Fever – this is the most common symptom.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Body aches
- Generally feeling sick
People who get infected many times may have the disease but have few or no symptoms. How bad malaria symptoms are can vary depending on your age, general health, and the kind of malaria parasite that you have.
In rare cases, malaria can lead to impaired function of the brain or spinal cord, seizures, or loss of consciousness. The most serious types of malaria infection can be deadly. Read more from Stanford Medicine…
Severe symptoms of Malaria can be fatal; these include brain malfunctions or seizures, so it needs to be treated immediately.
Malaria does have a cure and there is currently a malaria vaccine that can be administered. However, nothing beats prevention, which is why the best way to fight malaria is to prevent mosquitoes from spreading the disease through simple actions like destroying water pools that could allow them to breed.
Backyard Bug Patrol provides mosquito control services in Potomac MD. We are here to help you keep your home and loved ones safe. Don’t hesitate to call us today.