Malaria risk low despite another case reported in the US

Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 9:51 AM CDT
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(CNN) - For the first time in 20 years, cases of malaria acquired in the U.S. have been reported.

Health officials in Maryland reported that a person who tested positive for the disease was briefly hospitalized and is recovering at home.

Eight other cases of malaria have been reported this summer in Florida and Texas, but health officials said the health threat in the U.S. is low,

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the new Maryland case involves a different parasite, which can cause more severe illness than the strain that caused the other recent cases.

”The risk remains very low not just for individuals in Florida, Sarasota County, but throughout the entire United States. The risk is very low,” Chief of the Malaria Branch at the CDC Peter McElroy said in July.

The risk is still extremely low, according to the CDC’s website.

Maryland health officials said the state has not seen a case of malaria that was not related to travel in more than 40 years, but since the disease is spread by mosquitos, state health officials are encouraging people to use insect repellant containing DEET, wear loose-fitted long-sleeved shirts and pants outdoors, and use screens on windows and doors.

Symptoms usually appear 10 days to one month after the person was infected, but can take up to a year to develop. Those symptoms included fever, flu-like illness, chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue.

The CDC said before the COVID-19 pandemic, about 2,000 cases of malaria were diagnosed every year in the U.S. and were mostly related to travel. People who are traveling to areas where malaria is common can also take medication to lower their chances of catching the disease.