Malaria incidence in 2013 in the United States reached its third-highest point since 1973, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC received 1,727 reports of malaria in 2013, up 2% from the 1,687 cases reported in 2012. Since 1973, the only years with a higher incidence of malaria cases were 1980 and 2011 with 1,864 cases and 1,925 cases respectively. Plasmodium falciparum was the most common cause of malaria, accounting for 61% of the total cases. About 270 cases were classified as severe, and 10 people with malaria died, the highest death count since 2001.
Of the 1,720 cases imported into the United States, 1,250 cases originated in Africa, 164 cases came from Asia, 41 cases came from Central America and the Caribbean, 53 cases came from South America, 8 came from Oceania, 1 came from Europe, and 203 cases had unknown origins. Nigeria was the most common malaria source, accounting for 265 cases, with three other countries importing more than 100 cases. Outside of Africa, only India imported more than 100 cases.
“As international travel increases, prevention messages and health communication strategies become even more important for protecting the traveling community from communicable diseases. Prevention messages directed toward Africa-bound travelers, particularly those whose destination is West Africa, should be emphasized in early spring, accompanied with a reminder in late fall through early winter. Malaria prevention messages directed toward Asia-bound travelers, specifically those bound for India, should be intensified in late spring,” the CDC investigators recommended.
Find the full report in the MMWR (doi: 10.15585/mmwr.ss6502a1).