Friday, March 5, 2010

Malaria enters the US

"Nearly a dozen cases of Malaria has been confirmed here in the United States. All of the cases were acquired in Haiti after the January 12th, 2010 earthquake" (Gibbons). "Seven emergency responders, three Haitian residents now in the United States and one American traveler are known to have caught malaria in Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake, United States health officials said Thursday. Malaria is endemic throughout Haiti, so Haitians now living outdoors and relief workers are 'at substantial risk for the disease,' the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said" (McNeil).

"Haiti already had a problem with malaria, which is spread by mosquitoes that will have more places to breed in the cities and towns wrecked by the giant quake" (Reuters). Displaced people living in temporary shelters our outdoors are at substantial risk of contracting malaria. Health workers who flooded to Haiti after the earthquake to offer aid are also at risk. "U.S. health officials advise people travelling to Haiti should take medications to prevent malaria" (UPI).

"Six out of eight patients, including seven emergency responders, had been advised to take drugs to prevent malaria but had not done so, the PAHO experts said." Three of the cases that the CDC cited "occurred among Haitian residents traveling to the United States and one case involved a U.S. resident who was visiting Haiti. All are expected to recover fully" (Reuters).

Individuals in Haiti are still at risk. "Each year, Haiti reports about 30,000 confirmed cases of malaria to the Pan American Health Organization, but the CDC estimates as many as 200,000 may occur each year. According to the CDC, malaria transmission peaks after the two rainy seasons -- November to January and again during May to June" (Reuters). The peak season is still months away, but anti-malarial medications are already needed to treat those who are infected and reduce the number of possible cases.

"There is no vaccine against the parasite that causes the illness[,] and it quickly evolves resistance against drugs"; however some drugs are known to treat and reduce malaria illness (Reuters).

The CDC indicates that "anyone traveling to Haiti should take drugs to help prevent infection" (Reuters).


Gibbons, Sabrina. WSB News. "Malaria from Haiti Now in US." 4 March 2010.

McNeil, Donald G Jr. The New York Times. "U.S. Warns of Malaria Risk in Haiti". 4 March 2010.

Reuters. "Travelers from Haiti bringing Malaria to the US." 4 March 2010.

UPI. "Malaria Drugs for those going to Haiti." 4 March 2010.

No comments:

Post a Comment