Florida's Malaria Outbreak Primarily Arrived From Africa
As the state of Florida takes preventive actions to reduce the number of locally-acquired malaria (4) by eliminating mosquitoes, the Florida Health Department is also monitoring travel-related malaria cases.
Florida's Arbovirus Surveillance report published on June 24, 2023, confirmed 23 travel-associated malaria cases with onset in 2023.
This new report revealed people traveling from Burundi, Côte D'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (2), Equatorial Guinea, Ghana (2), Kenya, multiple countries (4), Nicaragua (2), Nigeria (2), Pakistan, Sierra Leone (2), Sudan, and Uganda (3) were diagnosed with malaria this year.
And the Florida counties reporting malaria cases were Broward (4), Duval, Hillsborough (4), Lee, Leon (2), Miami-Dade (5), Orange, Osceola, Pinellas (3), and Sarasota.
Seven malaria cases were reported in non-Florida residents.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently confirmed about 95% of all malaria cases are in the African Region.
In the Region of the Americas, Brazil and Venezuela reported the most malaria cases in 2022.
And Costa Rica recently confirmed over 130 malaria cases in early June 2023.
Malaria is a disease caused by species of protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium, and infections can be fatal for children, says the WHO.
Though rare, malaria can also be transmitted congenitally from the mother to the fetus or infant.
According to the latest World Malaria report, published in December 2022, malaria claimed the lives of an estimated 619,000 people in 2021.
Nearly 80% of malaria deaths in the African Region were among children under the age of 5.
Also, nearly 45 million children were reached with seasonal malaria chemoprevention.
This preventive therapy is recommended for children living in areas with highly seasonal malaria transmission in Africa.
Additionally, more than 1.3 million children have received a dose of the Mosquirix™ (RTS,S) malaria vaccine in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi.
The vaccine is administered as four shots to children from 6 weeks old, and it confers only modest protection, preventing about 50% of cases initially and waning from there, reported an article published by Nature.
Other children have received the R21/Matrix-M™ vaccine. In a recent clinical trial, R21 provided up to 77% efficacy against malaria.
As of June 30, 2023, these malaria vaccines are unavailable in the U.S.