(The Center Square) – Malaria has reappeared in the U.S. for the first time in 20 years, but a pest control expert says the risk to Illinoisans is small.
The latest case of malaria was reported in Maryland which sent a person to the hospital. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the new Maryland case involves a different parasite, which can cause more severe illness than the strain that caused the other recent cases. Eight other cases were reported in Texas and Florida.
Malaria, a mosquito-borne infectious disease, was nearly eradicated in the United States by the early 1950s. However, recent developments have reignited fears among citizens.
“While that probably is not the beginning of a whole big outbreak, we better be treating our mosquitos like we don’t want them back, we don’t want malaria back,” said Zachary Smith from PestDude.com.
Smith said the risk of malaria spreading to states like Illinois is minimal at this time and existing surveillance and control measures are capable of containing it.
Symptoms of malaria usually appear 10 days to one month after the person was infected, but can take up to a year to develop. Those symptoms included fever, flu-like illness, chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue.
Smith said if you are concerned about malaria or other mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile virus, there are precautions one can take.
“The thing I still recommend today is clean up, dry up and cover up,” said Smith. “If you can dry up moisture sources, you can really reduce mosquitos.”