Following two locally transmitted Plasmodium vivax cases in Sarasota, Florida reported since late May, Texas state health officials report today on a case of malaria diagnosed in a Texas resident who has not traveled outside the country or state.
Texas averages more than 120 travel-related malaria cases a year. The last locally acquired Texas case occurred in 1994.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), a Texas resident who spent time working outdoors in Cameron County was recently diagnosed with malaria. To date, no other locally acquired malaria cases have been identified in Texas.
The most common symptoms of malaria are flu-like and include fever, shaking chills, sweats, headache, body aches, nausea, and vomiting and typically start 7 to 30 days after infection. Without treatment, severe malaria can be life-threatening and can cause disorientation, seizures and other neurological symptoms, low red blood cell counts (anemia), acute respiratory distress syndrome, and kidney damage.
DSHS offers the following recommendations for the public:
- Protect yourself from all mosquito-borne diseases by preventing mosquito bites.
- Wear EPA registered insect repellents whenever you go outside.
- Cover up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants, especially at night when mosquitos are active.
- Keep mosquitoes out by keeping doors and windows closed and/or installing window screens.
- Prevent mosquitoes from breeding by dumping out standing water, keeping gutters clear, covering trash containers, regularly changing water in pet dishes and bird baths, and using mosquito larvicide in water that can’t be drained.
- If you are traveling, check your destination and consult your healthcare provider to see if you should take prescription malaria medication.
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