With Sarasota County malaria case having been confirmed recently, health officials advising the public to take precautions against mosquito bites

Individual was treated for the illness and recovered

On the night of May 26, the Florida Departments of Health in Sarasota County and Manatee County (DOH-Sarasota and DOH-Manatee) announced that they had confirmed one case of malaria in an individual who had spent extensive time outdoors.

“The patient was promptly treated at a hospital and has recovered,” their advisory said.

No information was available from the Health Departments about the outdoor areas where the infected person had been.

In its Florida Arbovirus Surveillance report for the week of May 21 to May 27, the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee noted only, “One case of locally acquired malaria was reported this week in Sarasota County.”

However, the Sarasota County Government Facebook page on May 25 said that ground treatment — by truck — “to kill adult mosquitoes” was planned for that night south of University Parkway, between Bradenton Road and North Lockwood Ridge Road, weather permitting.

Treatment also was set to take place in the Lake Sarasota area, south of Bee Ridge Road, that post continued.

A similar post went up on the county government Facebook page on May 30; it did not mention the Lake Sarasota community.

DOH staff is working closely with its local partners and county mosquito control staff members, the May 26 advisory added. Aerial and ground mosquito spraying was being conducted in the relevant areas “to mitigate the risk of further transmission,” the advisory noted.

“This case has been identified as the P. vivax species of malaria, which is not as fatal as other species,” the release explained.

Stanford Medicine’s Health Care website points out that that type of malaria occasionally can be severe, but P. vivax infection generally causes “less serious illness.” Nonetheless, the website adds, that “the parasites can remain dormant in the liver for many months, causing a reappearance of symptoms months or even years later.”

“Malaria is not transmitted from person to person. Only infected Anopheles mosquitoes can transmit malaria to humans,” the Health Departments’ advisory pointed out.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “Malaria is transmitted to humans by female mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. Female mosquitoes take blood meals for egg production, and these blood meals are the link between the human and the mosquito hosts in the parasite life cycle. The successful development of the malaria parasite in the mosquito … depends on several factors. The most important is ambient temperature and humidity (higher temperatures accelerate the parasite growth in the mosquito) and whether the Anopheles survives long enough to allow the parasite to complete its cycle in the mosquito host, which is a duration of nine to 18 days, the CDC adds.

“Effective treatment is readily available through hospitals and other health care providers,” the CDC notes. Individuals “with symptoms of fever, chills, sweats, nausea/vomiting, and headache should seek immediate medical attention,” the CDC emphasizes.

The Departments of Health offer the following recommendations for protection against any mosquito-borne illness:

  • Use mosquito repellent that contains DEET (10-30%), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone or IR3535.
  • “Wear long sleeves and pants.
  • “Check and repair screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.

“To help reduce the population of mosquitos around your home,” the May 26 advisory continued, “please drain and cover areas around your home.” The advisory also pointed out that mosquitoes reproduce in freshwater from rainstorms, sprinklers and other sources. “Drain pools of freshwater around your home and yard,” it said “Empty pet bowls, garbage cans, garbage can lids, bottles, tires, and anything where freshwater has accumulated.”

The release added, “Residents of Sarasota County and Manatee County should contact their local government for more information about specific mosquito control.”

Further information on mosquito prevention in Florida may be found here, the advisory said. That link also offers materials that can be displayed or distributed in communities, the advisory noted.

More information about malaria worldwide can be found through the CDC.