Several locally acquired malaria cases have been confirmed in Texas and Florida within the past two months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in an alert on Monday.
The agency also expressed a concern that an increase in international travel throughout summer could lead to an uptick of cases.
For treatment of potentially adverse effects, the CDC called for a plan to ensure quick access to intravenous artesunate, the only medication for severe malaria available in the country.
Several locally acquired malaria cases have been confirmed in Florida and Texas within the past two months. (iStock)
These are the first locally acquired diagnoses since 2003, the alert stated.
“There is no evidence to suggest the cases in the two states (Florida and Texas) are related,” the CDC announced.
“All patients have received treatment and are improving.”
“Several very promising vaccines are in clinical trials to prevent disease,” Dr. Marc Siegel, based in New York City, told Fox News Digital. (iStock)
“It is concerning that there is local transmission because there are many anopheles mosquitoes, especially in this region,” he continued. “However, the chance of sustained spread is very low.”
While Siegel does not believe locally acquired malaria will become a widespread problem, he said the biggest concern is travelers bringing it into the country.
Symptoms usually begin anywhere from 10 days to four weeks after infection.
Without treatment, severe malaria can lead to seizures, disorientation, renal failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or coma.
Those infected with malaria may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. (iStock)
“Chloriquine is a good prophylaxis [disease prevention] against vivax, and several very promising vaccines are in clinical trials to prevent disease,” Dr. Siegel told Fox News Digital.
For severe cases, intravenous artesunate is the only medication available in the U.S.
To prevent mosquito-borne illness, the CDC suggests researching the risk of disease for any destination prior to travel.