Maryland health officials report positive case of ‘locally acquired’ malaria

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Health officials in Maryland say that a positive case of “locally acquired” malaria was detected in the National Capital Region.

The Maryland Department of Health said it confirmed and reported the malaria case. It said that the individual didn’t recently travel outside the U.S. or to any other state. 

Maryland Department of Health Secretary Laura Herrera Scott said the state hasn’t seen a malaria case unrelated to travel in more than 40 years.

“Malaria was once common in the United States, including in Maryland, but we have not seen a case in Maryland that was not related to travel in over 40 years,” Scott said. “We are taking this very seriously and will work with local and federal health officials to investigate this case.”

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A feeding female Anopheles gambiae mosquito

FILE – This 2014 photo made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a feeding female Anopheles gambiae mosquito. The species is a known vector for the parasitic disease malaria. The United States has seen five cases of malaria spread by mosquitos in the last two months…the first time there’s been local spread in 20 years. There were four cases detected in Florida and one in Texas, according to a health alert issued Monday, June 26, 2023, by the CDC.  (James Gathany/CDC via AP, File)

According to officials, malaria is a “mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite.” Over 2,000 cases of malaria are reported per year in the U.S., but most cases occur in people who have returned from overseas travel.

In Maryland, the state usually reports around 200 travel-related malaria cases per year.

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Health officials at Sarasota County Mosquito Management Services study specimens of anopheles mosquitoes

Health officials at Sarasota County Mosquito Management Services study specimens of anopheles mosquitoes that cause malaria, in Sarasota, Florida on June 30, 2023. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Malaria symptoms consist of high fever, chills, body aches, diarrhea and vomiting and usually appear 7 to 30 days after an infected bug bites an individual.

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A mosquito is caught in a plastic box

FILE PHOTO: A mosquito (Culicidae) is caught in a plastic box in the eastern German town of Leipzig July 10, 2013.  (REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz//File Photo)

The Department of Health states despite the locally acquired case of malaria, the overall risk of getting the disease through an infected bug bite in the U.S. is very low.



POST AUTHOR: Adam Sabes

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