Texas DSHS advisory about a diagnosed case of malaria in Texas

Note: This is simply a notice that a “local transmission” has occurred in Texas, but not in our area. You should always protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites to eliminate the transmission of West Nile, encephalitis and malaria. Several, local infection, cases have been reported in Florida. The last locally acquired Texas case occurred in 1994.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has been notified of a case of malaria diagnosed in a Texas resident who has not traveled outside the country or state. The public should protect themselves from mosquito bites by using an EPA registered insect repellant, wearing long sleeves and pants, and draining standing water to limit mosquito breeding habitat.


A Texas resident who spent time working outdoors in Cameron County was recently diagnosed with malaria. DSHS has been working with local health departments to follow up on the case and determine whether other people may have been exposed. So far, no other locally acquired malaria cases have been identified in Texas.

Malaria is a serious and potentially fatal disease caused by a protozoan parasite from the Plasmodium genus, which can be transmitted through the bite of a mosquito of the genus Anopheles. Almost all cases of malaria in the United States are imported and occur in people who have traveled to or are coming from countries with ongoing malaria transmission. Occasional locally acquired cases occur in the United States when an Anopheles mosquito bites an infected traveler and then bites someone else. Texas averages more than 120 travel-related malaria cases a year. The last locally acquired Texas case occurred in 1994.

The most common symptoms of malaria are flu-like and include fever, shaking chills, sweats, headache, body aches, nausea, and vomiting and typically start 7 to 30 days after infection. Without treatment, severe malaria can be life-threatening and can cause disorientation, seizures and other neurological symptoms, low red blood cell counts (anemia), acute respiratory distress syndrome, and kidney damage.

Recommendations for the Public

  • Protect yourself from all mosquito-borne diseases by preventing mosquito bites.
    • Wear EPA registered insect repellents whenever you go outside.
    • Cover up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants, especially at night when mosquitos are active.
    • Keep mosquitoes out by keeping doors and windows closed and/or installing window screens.
    • Prevent mosquitoes from breeding by dumping out standing water, keeping gutters clear, covering trash containers, regularly changing water in pet dishes and bird baths, and using mosquito larvicide in water that can’t be drained.
  • If you are traveling, check your destination and consult your healthcare provider to see if you should take prescription malaria medication.

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