Florida Faces Rising Malaria Cases: What You Need to Know
Florida is currently grappling with an increase in malaria cases, with two more confirmed in Sarasota County. This brings the total to six cases since the first infection was reported in late May.
All these cases were reported in Sarasota County, with the most recent two confirmed in the last week of June. The type of malaria contracted is Plasmodium vivax, the most common type of malaria infection in humans. Although less fatal than other types, it can still be life-threatening.
Health officials have found three mosquitoes carrying the parasite in Sarasota County in early June. Malaria is only transmitted via mosquito bite, and symptoms include headaches, nausea, vomiting, sweating, fever, and chills. Health officials urge anyone experiencing these symptoms to seek medical help within 24 hours.
Residents are being advised to use bug spray, avoid areas with mosquitoes, and wear protective clothing outside. Mosquito spraying is happening in several areas in Sarasota County. Both Sarasota and Manatee counties remain under a malaria health alert that was issued on June 19. A statewide advisory was issued on June 26, when the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention also issued an advisory
The state health department has provided some tips to reduce mosquito exposure. These include draining standing water from various containers, discarding unused items that can collect water, maintaining swimming pools in good condition, wearing protective clothing, and using mosquito repellents.
Protecting Yourself from Malaria
The state health department has provided several tips to reduce mosquito exposure. These include draining standing water from various containers, discarding unused items that can collect water, maintaining swimming pools in good condition, and covering boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
When it comes to personal protection, wearing shoes, socks, long pants, and long sleeves is recommended. Applying mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing is also advised. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanoate, and IR3535 are effective.
Mosquito Repellent Tips
When using mosquito repellents, it's important to read the label directions carefully before applying. Some repellents are not suitable for children. For instance, mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended for children younger than two months old.
The Current Situation
As of now, no recent cases have been recorded in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Monroe counties in South Florida. However, the situation is being closely monitored, and residents are urged to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
The rise in malaria cases serves as a reminder of the importance of mosquito control and personal protection measures. As the situation continues to evolve, it's crucial for residents to stay informed and take the recommended precautions to protect themselves and their communities.
Ballogg, R. (2023, July 7). Florida is under a malaria alert, and there are now more cases of the mosquito illness. Miami Herald. Retrieved from https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article277091993.html