Malaria Cases in U.S. Hit 40-Year High
CDC's latest malaria surveillance summary report shows that approximately 2,000 cases of malaria were diagnosed and treated in the United States in 2011—almost all were acquired overseas in regions with malaria transmission. This is the largest number reported since 1971. Among the people who had malaria five died.
Every year, millions of U.S. residents travel to countries where malaria is transmitted. Most travelers who contract malaria either did not take an antimalarial drug to prevent the illness or did not take the appropriate drug or dose.
Most of the cases were in people who had been in sub-Saharan Africa. Although India is often perceived as a place with low risk of malaria for travelers, for the first time, it is the individual country from which the most cases were imported into the United States. However, all travelers to countries where malaria is present may be at risk for infection.
To protect yourself and your family from malaria when traveling, take these steps:
- Visit your doctor 4–6 weeks before you travel.
- Buy your malaria pills before your trip.
- Take your malaria pills exactly as prescribed.
- Avoid mosquito bites by sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net, wearing long sleeves and long pants, and using repellent.
- If you become sick with malaria symptoms such as fever and chills during or after your travel, make sure it is not malaria by seeing a doctor right away.
CDC’s webpages have information for travelers about malaria prevention measures and detailed information on countries of concern.
Clinicians can consult the CDC Guidelines for Treatment of Malaria and contact CDC’s malaria hotline, 770-488-7788 or toll-free at 855-856-4713, for case management advice as needed.
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