U.S. malaria cases reported for first time since 2003
Driving the news: Four people in Sarasota County, Florida, and a person in Cameron County, Texas, contracted the potentially deadly disease over a period from late May to late June through local transmission, according to the CDC. "All patients have received treatment and are improving," per a CDC statement.
- The Florida Department of Health in a statement Monday urged residents throughout the state to "take precautions by applying bug spray, avoiding areas with high mosquito populations, and wearing long pants and shirts when possible — especially during sunrise and sunset when mosquitos are most active."
The big picture: Some 2,000 malaria cases are typically diagnosed in the U.S. every year, but the CDC noted these infections were contracted in other countries.
- People can contract the disease if they're bitten by a mosquito carrying malaria parasites.
- The last U.S. outbreak occurred in 2003 in Palm Beach County, Florida, when eight malaria infections were confirmed.
What they're saying: "It's not panic time," said Brian Grimberg, an associate professor of pathology and international health at Case Western Reserve University, per the Washington Post.
- "I think the message is to be aware," Grimberg added. "Americans never think about malaria unless they travel abroad."