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Daily News Archive

Malaria Found in VA County
(from September 9, 2002)

Two students were recently diagnosed with malaria in Loudoun County, VA. Although malaria is common throughout the world, it is rare in the U.S. The two students, 17 and 19, were treated and released from local hospitals last week.

Health department officials stress that the form of malaria found in the two teens is a mild, non-lethal form that is completely treatable.

Malaria in the U.S. was eradicated in the 1950's after health authorities reduced the number of infected people enough to break the cycle of transmission. There have been only 85 reported cases of locally acquired malaria in the United States since 1957, with the Loudoun County cases bringing the toll to 87. In none of the previous 85 cases did malaria get a foothold in the population. Hoping for the same outcome, the Loudoun County authorities are trying to reduce the mosquito population by adding pesticide to the stagnant waters where mosquito larvae grow in addition to a brief round of spraying for adults.

No new cases of the disease have been diagnosed. It is believed that the two were infected at least two weeks ago, leaving officials hopeful that no new cases will occur.

Health officials have decided to spray the insecticide Anvil directly around the Loudoun County neighborhood. The Health Department plans to spray this evening after dusk, but is concentrating on a larvicide program. A warning was passed on to residents to stay indoors for at least 30 minutes after the spraying. Contrary to local news reports, there is very little evidence that spraying pesticides to kill adult mosquitoes significantly reduces mosquito populations.