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article imageMalaria cases in U.S. at 40-year high

By Tim Sandle     Nov 3, 2013 in Health
The number of malaria cases in the US has reached a 40-year high, with 1,925 cases reported in 2011 — the highest number since 1971.
The latest figures issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate the rising number of cases the parasitic disease affecting U.S. citizens. The figures do not, however, suggest a spread of mosquito-borne infections in U.S. states for almost all of the malaria cases reported were acquired overseas.
Malaria is caused by a single-celled parasite belonging to genus Plasmodium, is transmitted, by mosquitoes, in areas in over one hundred countries risking about 3.3 billion people. Mosquitoes spread the parasite to humans through their bites; the parasite then travels to the liver, where it matures and reproduces in forms that infect the red cells and cause clinical symptoms.
To determine the number of malaria cases reported, the CDC gathered data from the National Malaria Surveillance System (NMSS) and the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS). The report found that 1,925 malaria cases were reported in 2011, representing a 14 percent increase from 2010.
Of these, Nature World reports, 1,920 cases were contracted overseas. Although information on the region of acquisition was missing for 14 percent of these malaria cases, it was found that 69 percent were imported from Africa, with 63 percent of these acquired from West Africa.
The CDC warn, because of the link between malaria and overseas travel, that travelers use the recommended medicines to protect against malaria. CBS News gives examples of precautions, including using anti-malarial drugs, insect repellent, insecticide-treated bed nets and protective clothing.
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