An outbreak of locally transmitted malaria – which means that mosquitoes in the area may be infected with malaria and spreading it to people – has been reported by officials in the town of Wenceslau Guimarães in Bahia State, Brazil.
Despite mosquitoes that spread the disease being present in Bahia State, the disease is not usually found there, and the outbreak is believed to have started with an infected person who travelled from Pará State, where malaria is known to spread.
Malaria is spread through mosquito bites. Symptoms, which usually appear within seven to 30 days but can take up to a year to develop, include high fever, shaking chills and flu-like illness. If left untreated, the disease can cause severe illness and even death.
To monitor and respond to the outbreak, the Brazilian Ministry of Health and the public health authorities in Bahia State are controlling mosquito populations and educating healthcare providers and the public about malaria.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that travellers to Wenceslau Guimarães take medicine to prevent malaria. It said that travellers to the area should talk with their doctor or nurse abut medicine to prevent malaria. Travellers to Brazil are also advised to use insect repellent, wear protective clothing and sleep in an air-conditioned or well-screened room or under an insecticide-treated bed net.