Local transmission of malaria makes a comeback in the U.S.


August 31, 2023

Malaria cases in the United States have been in the news lately. What’s new this time is Florida and Texas reported the local transmission of malaria, meaning residents did not pick up the illness while travelling out of the country. Each year, about 2,000 cases of the disease are reported in the United States by people returning from trips overseas, USA Today reports.

Pest management professionals (PMPs) may remember reports of Zika virus and West Nile virus outbreaks several years ago. At that time, these mosquito-borne illnesses were a concern for customers.

As a PMP, you may hear questions about malaria from concerned existing or prospective customers. Be sure to share the facts with your customers; don’t scare them. Professional mosquito control, as well as the use of insect repellents with DEET, will help curtail bites from all mosquitoes.

For facts about malaria, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) websites. You will find information about disease symptoms, tips on prevention, and treatment options.

Malaria is transmitted by an infected female Anopheles mosquito. The CDC says people with malaria often experience a variety of symptoms, including fever, chills, and flu-like illness. Fortunately, the disease is curable if diagnosed and treated promptly. Anyone can get malaria, but it is not contagious.

Eight cases of malaria were reported so far this year: seven in Florida and one in Texas. The Florida Department of Health and the Texas Department of State Health Services are raising public awareness, taking steps toward additional mosquito control measures, and watching for additional cases. For example, the Florida Department of Health website features a downloadable mosquito control flyer that illustrates how to stay mosquito-free.



Once prevalent in the United States, “the country was declared free of malaria as a significant public health problem” in 1949, the CDC reports. That’s because in 1947, the National Malaria Eradication Program, a cooperative consisting of state and local health agencies from 13 southeastern states and the Communicable Disease Center of the U. S. Public Health Service, took steps to rid these areas of mosquitoes. The program accomplished this feat by applying DDT inside homes, removing mosquito breeding sites, improving drainage and spraying insecticides from aircraft in areas where malaria was prevalent.

Malaria is one of the most severe public health problems worldwide, and it is the leading cause of death in many countries. The “United to Beat Malaria” campaign, which is funded by the United Nations Foundation, is looking for partners, advocates and ambassadors to fight malaria. Those interested can offer financial support; raise awareness in their communities, speak to legislators; and provide advertising space on company websites to help focus attention on this issue. For more information, check out Dan Baldwin’s column about supporting “United to Beat Malaria.”


About the Author

Headshot: Diane Sofranec

Diane Sofranec is the senior editor for PMP magazine. She can be reached at dsofranec@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3793.

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