Study: International Travel May Be Linked to Rise in US Malaria Rate

May 23rd 2019
Kristen Coppock, MA, Editor
Kristen Coppock, MA, Editor

The best way to prevent malaria is to take chemoprophylaxis medication when traveling to a country where the disease is endemic, according to the CDC.

The results of a recent CDC study show that the incidence of malaria in the United States increased in 2016, following a dip in 2015.

The 2016 malaria rate was the highest since 1972 and represents a decades-long trend of increases in the number of confirmed cases.

The trend coincides with the rate of people traveling internationally by airplane, according to the CDC and the National Travel and Tourism Office.

In 2016, the CDC received reports of 2078 malaria cases with onset of symptoms. Among these reported cases, 306 were classified as severe illnesses, and 7 people died.

Most of these reported cases have been linked to mosquito transmission acquired through travel to areas around the world, including 1729 cases that originated in Africa. Of those Africa-linked cases, 61.4% came from West Africa.

However, the number of confirmed malaria incidences in 2016 also included 2 congenital cases, 3 cryptic cases, and 1 case acquired through blood transfusion.

The best way to prevent malaria is to take chemoprophylaxis medication when traveling to a country where the disease is endemic, according to the CDC.

Malaria infections can be fatal if not promptly treated with appropriate medications.

Last month,

became the first-line medication for treatment of severe malaria in the United States. The drug is not FDA approved, but it is available from the CDC under an investigational new drug protocol.

intravenous (IV) artesunate1-2

In 2018, 2 tafenoquine-based antimalarials were approved by the FDA for treating malaria.

They are:

1

  • Arakoda(60 Degrees) is indicated for adults with chemoprophylaxis and can prevent relapses fromP. ovaleandP. vivaxinfections.
  • Krintafel(GSK) was approved for radical cure ofP. vivaxinfections in patients 16 and older.

A malaria rate decrease in 2015 may be attributed to altered travel trends during the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, according to the CDC.

In 2016, the number of confirmed malaria cases in the United States grew 36% from 2015.

A version of this article was originally published by Pharmacy Times. For more information on

view the full article, visitPharmacyTimes.com.

IV artesunate and to

References

  1. Mace KE, Arguin PM, Lucchi NW, Tan KR. Malaria Surveillance — United States, 2016.MMWR Surveill Summ.2019;68(5):1-35. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.ss6805a1.
  2. Coppock K. New CDC guidance recommends artesunate as first-line treatment for severe malaria.Pharmacy Times. pharmacytimes.com/news/new-cdc-guidance-recommends-artesunate-as-firstline-treatment-for-severe-malaria. Updated March 29, 2019. Accessed May 21, 2019.

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