Malaria Outbreak: Bahia State, Brazil

CDC has received reports of an outbreak of P. vivax malaria in Wenceslau Guimarães in Bahia State, Brazil. Bahia State is not a malaria-endemic area. However, in the town of Wenceslau Guimarães there were 21 locally transmitted cases reported January 16–22 among workers producing manioc flour. These cases have been associated with another case in the same town, imported from the malaria-endemic Pará State.

The Brazilian Ministry of Health and the public health authorities in Bahia State are continuing to monitor and respond to this outbreak. Response so far has included entomologic surveillance, mosquito control measures, and education and communication to health care providers and the general public about malaria.

As Bahia State is not a malaria-endemic area, CDC has previously not recommended malaria prophylaxis. However, with this focal outbreak, CDC now recommends that travelers to the town of Wenceslau Guimarães in Bahia State take antimalarials to prevent malaria. Effective antimalarial options for P. vivax include atovaquone-proguanil, chloroquine, doxycycline, mefloquine, and in those without glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, primaquine. CDC will continue to monitor the malaria situation in Bahia State and will update these recommendations as needed.

Malaria and other diseases are spread by mosquito bites, therefore measures to prevent mosquito bites should be taken regardless of area of travel. These measures include using insect repellent when outdoors, staying in an air-conditioned or well-screened area, and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net.

See the CDC malaria website for additional health information about malaria including prevention of mosquito bites and drugs for malaria prevention. For general health information for travelers to all areas of the world, see the CDC Travelers’ Health website.

Page last reviewed: January 26, 2018