Texas Confirms First Malaria Case of 2023
According to health officials, a third malaria patient has been reported in Texas. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) was recently notified of a malaria diagnosis in a Cameron County, Texas resident who has not traveled outside the country or state.
DSHS has been working with local health departments to follow up on the case and determine whether other people may have been exposed to the mosquito-transmitted virus.
As of June 26, 2023, no other locally acquired malaria cases have been identified in Texas.
The last locally acquired malaria case in Texas occurred in 1994.
Locally acquired cases occur when an Anopheles mosquito bites an infected traveler and then bites someone else. Texas averages more than 120 travel-related malaria cases a year.
And in Florida, a second locally-acquired malaria case was confirmed last week in the Tampa / Sarasota area.
Typically, about 2,000 malaria cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Malaria is a medical emergency and should be treated accordingly.
Patients suspected of having malaria should be urgently evaluated in a facility that is able to provide rapid diagnosis and treatment within 24 hours of presentation, says the CDC's Health Advisory (CDCHAN-00494).
Malaria infections cause fever, chills, and flu-like illness, which can appear 7 to 30 days after infection.
Without antimalarial treatment, severe malaria can be life-threatening and can cause disorientation, seizures and other neurological symptoms, low red blood cell counts, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and kidney damage.
About 3.2 billion people are at risk in 84 countries, and 619,000 died from malaria in 2021.
The CDC suggests people in malaria-infected areas should protect themselves from all mosquito-borne diseases by preventing mosquito bites.
Furthermore, if you are traveling, check your destination and consult your healthcare provider to see if you should take prescription malaria medication.
Treatment recommendations for malaria vary by species and severity. Please refer to CDC’s Malaria Diagnosis and Treatment Guidelines for specific detailed instructions.
While malaria vaccines have already been approved and are in use in Africa, they are unavailable in the U.S.
The World Health Organization currently recommends both the Mosquirix™ and R21/Matrix-M™ vaccines in 2023.