Jun 29, 2023
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported this week that, for the first time since 2003, cases of the mosquito-borne illness malaria have been contracted in the US. Doctors found that five people — four in Florida and one in Texas — got malaria in the past two months. All are expected to get better.
Some Americans have had malaria in the past 20 years. However, they got sick while traveling outside the US. The five people who got it recently didn't travel anywhere. This shows that the numbers of Anopheles mosquitoes are going up in the South. They are the only ones to carry the parasites that cause malaria.
"The presence of … mosquitoes and warmer temperatures in the Southeast will likely lead to additional cases in the coming months and years," Dr. John Brownstein told ABC News. He is a disease expert in Boston. He added that the risk of malaria here could grow due to climate change and new kinds of mosquitos arriving.
Malaria is treatable. But if it's not treated, it can be deadly. The signs of malaria can show up a week to a year after a person gets bitten. These signs can be fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, and diarrhea, says the CDC.
Officials say the best way to slow down the spread is to not get bitten. They suggest using bug sprays, wearing clothes that cover your arms and legs, and putting screens on windows and doors. They also say you should clean up places where water can sit still. That's where mosquitoes lay their eggs.
Reflect: What measures could individuals and communities take to minimize the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses in their surroundings?