Three mosquitoes collected near Sarasota, Florida, have tested positive for malaria amid an unusual cluster of locally acquired cases. This is the first time in two decades that American mosquitoes have tested positive for malaria in connection with US-based cases.
Four cases have been confirmed so far in Florida, all in close geographic proximity. Health officials said on Monday. officials, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported Wednesday Investigates a possible fifth case.
As outbreak response efforts are underway, officials are catching and testing local mosquitoes. Sarasota County Mosquito Management Service manager said in a statement to CBS News Three positive insects are more than one hundred Sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing.
Meanwhile, efforts to contain the outbreak include going door-to-door to inform people about cases, as well as spraying pesticides from trucks and airplanes.
Mosquitoes that transmit the malaria parasite Anopheles race There are many species Anopheles Mosquitoes have been found in at least 32 states in the United States.
In this case, the Anopheles The species caught spreading the parasite is a nocturnal biter—usually not active during the day or evening, unlike some others. Anopheles species. These species tend to congregate and breed around freshwater marshes. That’s according to Christopher Lesser, director of the Manatee County Mosquito Control District, who spoke with the Herald-Tribune. (Manatee County, north of Sarasota, also responds to cases).
A cluster of locally acquired malaria cases around Sarasota—as well as an unrelated case in Texas—marks the first time the parasite has spread in the United States since 2003, when there was a cluster of cases in Palm Beach, Florida. In that outbreak, none of the captured mosquitoes tested positive for malaria.
However, a 2002 investigation into a cluster of locally acquired cases in Loudon County, Virginia, identified malaria-positive mosquitoes. This is the first time since 1957 American mosquitoes associated with locally acquired cases tested positive for the malaria parasite.
In National Health Alert Monday, the CDC urged doctors to diagnose malaria cases in populations without travel-related risks, particularly in areas near Florida and Texas cases. Clusters highlight the potential for reintroduction and rebound in the United States, based on global travel and climate change. But, in general, the CDC notes, “the risk of locally acquired malaria is very low in the United States.”