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What to Know About Locally Spread Malaria in the United States

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What to Know About Locally Spread Malaria in the United States

Introduction

Even though locally transmitted malaria outbreaks in the U.S.A. have been rare and largely isolated, there is still a chance that the disease could return because of certain mosquitoes that can transmit the parasite that causes malaria from one person to another, especially throughout the southern states. The C.D.C. offers assistance in investigating locally transmitted malaria caused by mosquitoes at the states’ demand.

First local malaria transmission cases in the United States in 20 years:

The National Center for Prevention and Control of Diseases reported on Monday that at least five persons in the U.S.A. had contracted malaria in the past two months—four in Florida and one in Texas. Since 2003, there have been no confirmed cases of regionally transmitted malaria in the nation.

Several varieties of parasites spread by Anopheles mosquitoes cause malaria, a disease historically prevalent in the United States. It frequently results in flu-like symptoms, such as chills and a high temperature, but if untreated, it may lead to severe illness and even cause death. The new instances were brought on by Plasmodium vivax, a form of malaria parasite that is less likely to result in severe illness than certain other varieties.

In a recent study, Dr Carlson discovered that some Anopheles mosquitoes had already altered their geographic ranges in ways that are compatible with climate change. Warm climates are where malaria is most prevalent.

However, it is still being determined whether the recent instances in the United States are related to climate change. Although the weather throughout the southern United States has likely improved, Dr Carlson pointed out that the area was already warm enough for malaria to spread.

“There will just be more opportunities for transmission of malaria to take off if travelers come back through areas that are at the forefront of climate impacts,” 

More incidents will be kept an eye on by officials:

The C.D.C. is collaborating with state health authorities to look into the additional cases. The organization reported that officials are aggressively looking for more possible instances and working to reduce the number of mosquitoes in the area.

People can safeguard themselves by applying insect repellent, donning long sleeves and pants, and utilizing window screens. People who intend to travel should look up the likelihood of encountering malaria while there and consult their doctors about appropriate precautions.

What is malaria?

A potentially fatal illness called malaria is transmitted to people by certain mosquito species. Tropical nations are where it is primarily found. It can be avoided and treated.

A parasite is responsible for the infection, which cannot pass from one person to another. Through mosquito bites carrying the parasite, people become infected. Malaria usually results in severe illness, having a severe fever and chills that cause trembling.

Malaria is still widespread across tropical and subtropical nations but rare in temperate areas. Over 400,000 individuals die from malaria yearly, affecting nearly 290 million people worldwide.

How does malaria affect humans?

People often contract malaria through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Malaria can also be spread through contaminated needles and blood transfusions. The initial signs of malaria may be challenging to identify because they may be mild and analogous to the characteristics of many febrile disorders. If P. falciparum malaria is not treated, it can lead to severe illnesses and fatalities within 24 hours.

Malaria can harm or even rupture the liver, kidneys, or spleen. Any one of these ailments has the potential to be fatal. 

Malaria may prevent you from producing enough red blood cells to ensure that your body’s tissues receive adequate oxygen. 

Symptoms

Malaria’s primary early signs and symptoms are fever, headache, and chills. Symptoms typically appear within 10 to 15 days of getting stung by an infected mosquito.

Symptoms may be mild for some people, particularly those who have already caught malaria. Early testing is crucial, while sometimes indications of malaria are not specific. 

Malaria of some varieties can result in severe disease and even death. The danger is more serious for newborns, kids under 5, pregnant women, travelers, and those with H.I.V. or AIDS

  • Vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
  • Sweating and a high body temperature
  • Your entire body shakes with the chills
  • Muscle pains and headaches.
  • Fatigue.
  • Cough, difficulty breathing, and chest pain.

Where is malaria most common to occur?

Malaria occurs everywhere in the world. However, it is most prevalent in underdeveloped nations and regions having pleasant temperatures and substantial humidity, such as:

  • Europe’s east.
  • Haiti, the Dominican Republic, as well as other Caribbean nations.
  • South and Central America
  • Africa.
  • Asia’s south and southeast.
  • South and Central Pacific Ocean islands

To lower your risk of contracting malaria, one should also take the following precautions

On exposed skin, apply insect repellent containing DEET (diethyltoluamide
Bed netting with mosquito nets.
Add screens to your doors and windows.
Permethrin is called an insect repellent which can be used to treat garments, nets for mosquitoes, 
Use tents, sleeping bags, and other materials.
Cover your skin by donning long sleeves and pants.

How is the disease treated?

Treatment for malaria must begin as quickly as possible. To eliminate the malaria parasite, your doctor will prescribe drugs. Malaria medications can’t be used on some parasites.

Some medications are administered along with other medications. What kind of medicines are used and how much you take them for will depend on the type of parasite.

Drugs used to treat malaria include

Artemether and artesunate are artemisinin-based medicines. Artemisinin combination therapy is the most efficient therapy for the parasite Plasmodium falciparum malaria, assuming it is available.

  • Doxycycline 
  • Mefloquine.
  • Quinine.
  • Primaquine.
  • Chloroquine. 

Conclusion

Malaria can be communicated by receiving a bite by a diseased female Anopheles mosquito. Through the use of contaminated (dirty) syringes or needles or by transferring blood from people with the disease, malaria can also be disseminated. A mosquito that bites an individual who has untreated or inadequately managed plasmodium can become infected.

By staying out of mosquito bites and using drugs, malaria can be prevented. Treatments can halt the development of favorable situations.

Frequently asked questions

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Information By – Aayushi Bhanu

 

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