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A case of malaria has been confirmed in Arkansas and is the first locally acquired case in the state in at least 40 years. 

The patient, who was not named, lives in Saline County and had not recently traveled out of the country.

The case makes Arkansas the fourth state to report a locally acquired case of the disease this year, in another sign the disease may be gaining a foothold in the US for the first time in two decades.

The patient was also the tenth to be infected on US soil this year, after seven locally-acquired infections were detected in Florida and one each in Texas and Maryland — with the first case detected in May.

Arkansas has reported its first case of locally acquired malaria in at least 40 years (stock image)

Dr Naveen Patil, the deputy health officer for the state, said this was the first time a local case of malaria had been detected in Arkansas since at least 1980. 

He told local news channel KARK: ‘[It’s been] maybe 30 to 40 years from since we’ve been tracking, we have not had a case of locally-acquired malaria in our state.’

Arkansas has reported five other cases of malaria this year, but each of those was linked to travel outside of the country.

The local health department is now capturing and testing local mosquitoes to establish where the local case could have come from.

They will then likely carry out pesticide spraying in areas where they there are mosquitoes that are carrying malaria.

Malaria cannot be spread from person to person, but mosquitoes can become infected when they bite a malaria patient — and then spread the disease when they bite another human.

Malaria has not transmitted locally in the US since 2003 when an outbreak in Florida led to eight infections.

The disease still appears sporadically, however, because it is brought in by travelers arriving from abroad. In rare cases, it can also get into the local mosquito population and begin to spread.

Concerns were raised this year after Florida detected seven locally acquired cases in Sarasota County.

In Texas, a case was detected in a 21-year-old guard working along the state’s border with Mexico who said he was being ‘eaten alive’ by mosquitoes.

Christopher Shingler, who was stationed on the Rio Grande near Brownsville, said he was waking up trembling in the night and suffering from a fever and vomiting because of the infection.

A case was also diagnosed in Maryland in a resident who lives in the National Capital Region of the state next to Washington D.C.

Malaria was eradicated in the US in the 1950s, but experts fear the disease could make a comeback DUE to international travel.

They warn malaria-ridden mosquitoes could hitch a ride to the US on boats or planes or patients who become infected abroad AND bring the disease into the country.

In June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned doctors to be on the lookout for the disease — particularly in patients suffering a fever.

The whole of Florida was under a malaria warning earlier this year, including Sarasota County – where cases have been detected – and its neighbor Manatee County

Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite spread to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. 

Early warning signs of the disease include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and nausea.

Without treatment, these can progress to complications like anemia — a low red blood cell count — and organ failure, which can be fatal.

Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people globally every year, with 619,000 deaths recorded in 2021. With treatment, most cases are not fatal, but should they progress to the severe stage, the disease almost always leads to death.

About 2,000 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States every year, but these are always linked back to people who have international travel to places like Africa and South and Central America.

About 300 of these patients develop severe disease every year and five to ten patients die from their infections.

It comes after the World Health Organization gave the greenlight to a new and more effective vaccine for malaria for the first time.

Made by the University of Oxford, it is the second shot to be cleared for use after another was approved in 2021.  

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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