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Health Department Alert Issued Across Florida due to Increase in Malaria Cases | FlaglerLive

Florida issues mosquito-borne illness advisory after local malaria cases.

The Florida Department of Health has issued a statewide advisory regarding mosquito-borne illnesses after four confirmed cases of malaria were reported in Sarasota County. The individuals affected have been treated and have fully recovered. Malaria is transmitted through infected mosquitoes, and residents across the state are urged to take precautions to protect themselves. This includes applying bug spray, avoiding areas with high mosquito populations, and wearing long pants and shirts, especially during sunrise and sunset when mosquitoes are most active.

The Department is working closely with local partners and county mosquito control to address the issue. Aerial and ground mosquito spraying is being conducted in the affected areas to reduce the risk of further transmission.

In Florida, Malaria is transmitted by infected Anopheles mosquitoes, and the specific cause of these cases has been identified as the Plasmodium vivax species. Effective treatment is readily available through hospitals and other healthcare providers. Individuals in the area who experience symptoms such as fever, chills, sweats, nausea/vomiting, and headache should seek immediate medical attention.

To prevent mosquito breeding, the Department advises the public to follow the "Drain and Cover" approach. This includes draining standing water from various sources such as garbage cans, gutters, buckets, pool covers, and flowerpots. Additionally, items that are not being used, such as old tires, drums, bottles, cans, and broken appliances, should be discarded. Birdbaths and pet's water bowls should be emptied and cleaned regularly. Boats and vehicles should be protected from rain with water-repellent tarps, and swimming pools should be properly maintained and chlorinated. Plastic swimming pools should be emptied when not in use.

To keep mosquitoes out of homes, doors and windows should be covered with screens, and any broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios should be repaired. When spending time outdoors, individuals should cover their skin with clothing and use appropriate mosquito repellent. This includes wearing shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts, especially for those working in areas with high mosquito activity. Mosquito repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone, and IR3535 are effective. For children younger than 2 months old, mosquito netting should be used for protection.

The Department is actively monitoring the situation and conducting statewide surveillance for various mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria, chikungunya, and dengue. Residents of Florida are encouraged to report any dead birds to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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