Unexplained fever? Malaria might be a possible diagnosis regardless of travel history, says CDC

Don’t rule out malaria simply since you haven’t traveled anyplace.

In mild of current regionally acquired instances within the U.S., the shortage of worldwide travel shouldn’t exclude a diagnosis of malaria when Americans have unexplained fever — particularly in the event that they develop new anemia.

That’s in response to a current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Alert Network replace.

“While malaria contraction is most commonly associated with travel abroad, there have been recent cases of locally acquired mosquito-transmitted malaria,” Dr. Obinna Nnedu, infectious illnesses specialist and medical director of the travel drugs clinic at Ochsner Health in New Orleans, Louisiana, advised Fox News Digital. 


“These cases are rare,” he added. 

“However, it’s important to understand that Anopheles mosquitoes breed in still containers and puddles of water outdoors and they prefer to bite humans in the evenings and at nighttime.”

This 2014 photograph made out there by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exhibits a feeding feminine Anopheles gambiae mosquito. The species is a identified vector for the parasitic illness malaria. In 2023, the United States has seen some instances of malaria unfold by mosquitos — the primary time there’s been native unfold in 20 years.  (James Gathany/CDC through AP, File)

Four totally different species of the genus Plasmodium primarily trigger malaria in people: P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae and P. ovale.

Here’s a breakdown.

‘Rapid diagnosis’ is vital 

The CDC well being alert highlights the species that causes essentially the most extreme type of malaria — P. falciparum, which was reported to trigger a single case of malaria in Maryland within the National Capital Region on Aug. 18, 2023.

“P. falciparum malaria can rapidly cause severe illness and even death if not quickly diagnosed, therefore rapid diagnosis and treatment is imperative,” the report stated.


A previous health alert on June 26, 2023, described seven cases of malaria in Florida and one case in Texas that were acquired locally without international travel. 

“CDC’s nationwide malaria system works shortly and successfully to establish instances of malaria and join sufferers to remedy.”

These instances have been unrelated to the Maryland case and have been secondary to a totally different species referred to as P. vivax, which typically causes a milder type of the illness. 

“CDC’s national malaria system works quickly and effectively to identify cases of malaria and connect patients to treatment,” a CDC spokesperson advised Fox News Digital. 

The CDC logo

A view of the signal of Center for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters is seen in Atlanta, Georgia, on Aug. 6, 2022. “The current risk of malaria in the U.S. is very low,” a CDC spokesperson emphasised to Fox News Digital in August 2023. (Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency through Getty Images)

The final report of native transmission of malaria was in mid-July in Florida; earlier than that, it was in June in Texas. All sufferers are enhancing after receiving remedy. 

Before this yr, the final instances of native transmission of malaria within the U.S. occurred in 2003, when eight instances have been reported in Palm Beach County, Florida, on account of P. vivax malaria, in response to the report.

“The current risk of malaria in the U.S. is very low,” a CDC spokesperson emphasised to Fox News Digital. 

What is malaria?

Malaria is brought on by a parasite — most frequently by the chew of a feminine mosquito of the genus Anopheles that’s contaminated with the illness.  

The Anopheles mosquitoes are discovered all through many components of the nation, in response to the CDC.

After these mosquitoes feed on somebody contaminated with malaria, they transmit the parasite by biting one other one that’s not contaminated. 

It is a international illness, inflicting over 240 million instances a yr; the overwhelming majority of instances — 95% — come from Africa.

Although uncommon, the sickness can even be transmitted throughout being pregnant from the mom to the fetus, in addition to by way of a blood transfusion, organ transplantation or unsafe needle sharing, in response to the CDC.


It is a international illness, inflicting over 240 million instances a yr, however the overwhelming majority — 95% — come from Africa, per the CDC.

Almost all malaria instances within the U.S. happen in worldwide vacationers — typically from sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia — largely in the course of the summer season and early fall.  

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, roughly 2,000 instances have been recognized yearly within the U.S., with 300 folks having extreme illness largely on account of P. falciparum; solely 5 to 10 folks sometimes die yearly within the U.S. from malaria. 

Symptoms of malaria 

“Once a mosquito is infected with a malaria parasite, it takes between two and three weeks for the parasite to develop into a form that is infectious to humans,” Nnedu advised Fox News Digital.

Certain species, like P. vivax and P. ovale, stay “dormant” within the liver in a type referred to as hypnozoites. They are thought-about “hypnotized” till they go away the liver, so it could take a yr or extra to develop signs after an an infection, in response to consultants.

mom monitoring sick child

“Malaria in humans usually presents with fevers,” stated one knowledgeable. “Other symptoms may include body aches, headaches and shortness of breath.” (iStock)

“Malaria in humans usually presents with fevers,” Nnedu stated. “Other symptoms may include body aches, headaches and shortness of breath.”

Although hardly ever noticed, one basic clue of an infection with P. falciparum and P. vivax is a fever that arrives like clockwork each different day, the CDC says.

Microscopy is ‘gold standard’

“The gold standard for malaria diagnosis is microscopy,” Nnedu famous.

After a drop of blood is positioned on a glass slide, it’s then smudged to unfold the blood, creating a “blood smear,” per the CDC.

The slide is then given a particular stain that may assist establish any malaria species which will exist underneath the microscope.

“To effectively rule out malaria, one must have three negative blood smears on microscopy spaced out by 12 hours,” Nnedu added.

Doctor on tablet

A health care provider is proven lab outcomes. “To effectively rule out malaria, one must have three negative blood smears on microscopy spaced out by 12 hours,” an infectious illnesses specialist stated. (iStock)

There are additionally speedy diagnostic checks, that are “equally effective at diagnosing malaria,” he added.

Prevention of malaria

“To help lower your risk of contact with potentially infected mosquitoes, emptying standing containers of water outside of homes is important,” Nnedu advisable.

“You can also consider getting mosquito nets for windows and doors of homes and using mosquito repellant that contains 20% DEET when outdoors,” he stated.


He reminded folks to use mosquito repellant after utilizing sunscreen. 

Mosquito repellant is efficient for six hours — however sweating or perspiration will lower the quantity of time the mosquito repellant is efficient, Nnedu stated.


“The best way to protect yourself from malaria, and other diseases spread by mosquitos like West Nile Virus, is to prevent mosquito bites by using insect repellant, wearing loose-fitting shirts and pants, and taking steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors,” a CDC spokesperson advised Fox News Digital.

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button