All of this warm and damp weather across New York State lately isn’t just putting a damper on our last-minute summer plans - it's making it a prime time for mosquitoes to breed.

Mosquitoes aren’t just annoying (and itchy!), they could also carry diseases like West Nile and Zika virus that could make you sick. 

A few recent cases of one serious and potentially fatal mosquito-borne illness, malaria, is causing concern for an incredibly rare reason. 

Could this deadly disease affect us here in New York?

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How Does Malaria Spread?

According to the CDC, Malaria is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected female mosquito. Less commonly, malaria can also be passed from mother to baby while pregnant or during birth, through a blood transfusion or an organ transplant, or through unsafe needle-sharing practices.

Mosquito close up

What Are The Symptoms Of Malaria?

Although it isn’t contagious, Malaria can cause a person to experience symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Shaking chills
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • Jaundice

If not treated right away, Malaria can lead to serious issues like kidney failure, mental confusion, seizures, coma, and even death.

How Many People In The US Get Malaria?

Thankfully, malaria is rare here in the United States. Before the pandemic, only about 2,000 cases were diagnosed here each year, mostly in people who had recently been to an area of the world where it’s more prevalent (like sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia).

However, the latest cases popping up in the states are causing alarm, prompting the CDC to release a warning.  

New US Cases Of Malaria Cause For Concern

What makes these recent cases so concerning is that they’re the first cases of malaria caught here in the US in 20 years.

Four people in the same area of Florida recently became infected, along with a person in Texas who also seems to have caught the disease locally. 

Could Malaria Spread To New York State?

Although the chance of catching malaria without traveling is extremely low, you should still be on alert here in New York now that it’s in the US.

Person spraying bug spray

Warm and damp summer months are the prime time for mosquitoes to breed, so whenever you’re traveling or spending time outdoors, you should apply bug spray liberally and wear long sleeves and pants when in wet areas.

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