Via NPR's Goats and Soda blog: Malaria Wiped Out In U.S. But Still Plagues U.S. Hospitals. Excerpt:
Malaria transmission in the United States was eliminated in the early 1950s through the use of insecticides, drainage ditches and the incredible power of window screens.
But the mosquito-borne disease has staged a comeback in American hospitals as travelers return from parts of the world where malaria runs rampant. In the early 1970s there only a couple hundred malaria cases reported in the entire U.S. but that number has steadily increased in recent years.
A new study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene finds that now roughly 1,500 people are hospitalized each year in the U.S. with malaria.
"We don't know of any active transmission in the U.S. so we assume that these cases are all travelers or immigrants," says Diana Khuu, an epidemiologist from the University of California, Los Angeles. Khuu and her colleagues analyzed national hospital admissions data from the years 2000 to 2014 and found far more malaria than they expected.
"Definitely the numbers are so high," Khuu says, for a disease that should be easily preventable. "We do have good anti-malaria medicine that travelers can take but apparently some people are just not using it."
And the consequences of getting malaria can be devastating.
Over the 14 years of data that Khuu analyzed there were a total of 22,029 hospitalizations for malaria nationwide. Nearly 5,000 of the cases were deemed "severe." and 182 were fatal. Most of the malaria admissions ran up hospital charges in excess of $25,000.