CDC Reports Spike In Imported Malaria Cases Along Southern Border

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported a significant increase in imported malaria cases in three southern border jurisdictions in 2023 compared to the previous year. According to a May 9 report, a total of 68 imported malaria cases were identified in Pima, Arizona; San Diego, California; and El Paso, Texas, representing a 143% jump from the 28 cases reported in 2022.

The majority of the cases, 49 out of 68, were found among “other newly arrived migrants,” including asylum seekers. The CDC noted that the increase in imported malaria cases corresponded with the entry of asylum seekers and other migrants into the United States via the southern land border.

“Among the 49 other newly arrived migrants, 46 (94%) had traveled through one or more countries with endemic malaria,” the report stated. Out of the 68 total cases, 63 required hospitalization with nearly a third experiencing severe disease which was more common among the newly arrived migrants than U.S. residents.

The CDC advised healthcare professionals to obtain complete travel histories, consider malaria among symptomatic patients who have recently traveled through areas where the disease is endemic, and initiate prompt testing and treatment when indicated. The agency maintains a webpage detailing malaria risk across countries for U.S. travelers visiting nations prone to the disease.