Four locally acquired cases of malaria were recorded along the Gulf Coast south of Tampa, prompting the Florida Department of Health to issue a statewide mosquito-borne disease alert.
The first local spread of malaria in the United States in 20 years was recorded in a health notice sent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday, which also mentioned the discovery of a second case in Texas.
The state’s Department of Health’s notice states that the four people in Sarasota County got medical attention and have made a full recovery.
Anopheles mosquito bites are the primary method of transmission for the parasite that causes malaria, which also causes headaches, nausea, vomiting, chills, and fever.
It cannot be passed from person to person.
Kathleen Gibson-Dee, who resides on Terra Ceia Island, roughly 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Sarasota County, is worried about the potential for mosquito-borne sickness. Despite the fact that Manatee County, where Terra Ceia is located, has not yet had a case of malaria, Gibson-Dee claimed that she now often wears insect spray when gardening.
I don’t go out without it,” she said to The Associated Press on Tuesday. And since you can now see clouds and clouds of bugs, we avoid going outside in the evening.
There are clearly mosquitoes out there, even if not all of them are. The revelation of the malaria cases, according to another local, Tom Lyons, “makes me take mosquito protection a little more seriously.”
According to Lyons, Terra Ceia is a mosquito breeding ground because “it’s an island surrounded by a lot of shallow water and mangroves, which are ideal places for mosquitoes.
Manatee County officials have increased their efforts to manage the mosquito population. In order to reduce the mosquito population, helicopters are mostly used, according to Chris Lesser, head of the Manatee County Mosquito Reduction District, who stated they can cover between 15,000 and 20,000 acres (6070 to 8082 hectares) in a single night.
According to him, a truck can only go around 1,000 acres (404 hectares) every night. “We really want to focus on killing the adult mosquito before they have the opportunity to feed on one person who may be infected with malaria and then transmit that disease to a second person,” Lesser said.
He said that it takes a mosquito around 14 days from the moment of infection for it to start transmitting the sickness to humans.
Therefore, we’re attempting to enter the area roughly once every seven to ten days and significantly reduce the mosquito population.
And until the current public health alert is lifted, that procedure will continue, according to Lesser.
It’s a curtain, he said further. “We are using aggressive mosquito control measures to prevent the malaria mosquitoes from entering our county through our southern border.
Similar strategies are also being used by authorities to manage mosquito populations in Sarasota County, according to a warning from the county’s health department.
The bulk of the 2,000 cases of malaria identified annually in the United States are among visitors from nations where the disease is a frequent problem.
In the United States, there have been 11 malaria outbreaks caused by mosquitoes since 1992.
Eight occurrences were documented in Palm Beach County, Florida, where it happened last in 2003.