Do We Need to Worry About Malaria in Louisiana this Year?
SHREVEPORT, LA - Five cases of malaria have been confirmed in the U.S. One of the cases is in south Texas in Cameron County. The other four cases are in Florida.
The Centers for Disease Control has issued a warning about malaria. This is the first time in 20 years malaria has been acquired in the states.
This CDC is warning doctors and public health officials about a small number of cases. Usually, Americans get sick from malaria if they have been traveling overseas. But these cases were acquired locally in the two states listed.
How Does Malaria Spread?
Malaria spreads when the female mosquito bites a person with malaria and then bites another person. It is very rare in the U.S. In other parts of the world, that's a different story. There are more than 200 million cases every year across the globe with 95% of those cases in Africa.
Here's What the Alert in Florida Says:
"The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County and Manatee County have issued a mosquito-borne illness alert for Sarasota and Manatee counties. Residents in these areas should take precautions, such as wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, applying bug spray, and avoiding areas with high mosquito populations, especially during sunrise and sunset when mosquitos are most active. Aerial and ground mosquito spraying is being conducted in these areas to mitigate the risk of further transmission."
What Are the Symptoms to Watch For?
Anyone in an area where an alert has been issued should look for symptoms including fever, chills, sweats, nausea/vomiting, and headache. You should seek medical attention immediately. There are readily available treatments for malaria, but if not treated, it could be fatal.
There is no indication malaria has been found in Louisiana. You are also urged to take precautions to keep mosquitos away from your home.
- Drain standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.
- Cover your skin with clothing and use mosquito repellent.
- Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out.