The Florida Department of Health reported two additional locally acquired malaria cases in the past week, bringing the state total to six.
All six cases were reported from Sarasota County and were identified as Plasmodium vivax.
On June 26, the Florida Department of Health issued a statewide mosquito-borne illness advisory due to the malaria cases.
Malaria is a serious and potentially fatal disease caused by any of four species of protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium. Infection with Plasmodium vivax are generally less severe but may result in chronic infection due to parasites remaining dormant in the liver. Suspected or confirmed malaria should be evaluated and managed promptly.
Transmission occurs through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Malaria may also rarely be transmitted from mother to fetus in utero or to neonate at parturition and contaminated blood, tissues, or needles. An infected person should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites while ill to prevent infection of local mosquitoes. Areas with endemic malaria transmission include Africa, South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Central America including Mexico, and South America.
Incubation period varies by species, but in most cases is from 7 to 30 days.
Clinical presentation: Malaria is characterized by flu-like symptoms including fever which may be cyclical, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and myalgia. Anemia, thrombocytopenia, elevation of bilirubin, and elevation of aminotransferases may also be seen. Symptoms of severe malaria include seizures, mental confusion, hemoglobinuria, kidney failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, coma, and parasitemia >5%. Pregnant women and young children are at greater risk for severe malaria.
Treatment should be guided by the infecting malaria species, clinical status of the patient, drug susceptibility as determined by the geographic area where exposed, and previous use of antimalarials.
Malaria prevention consists of mosquito avoidance measures and chemoprophylaxis. An individual risk assessment should be conducted for each traveler to determine risk and appropriate prevention strategies.
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