New leprosy and malaria cases found in Florida

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sign in Atlanta

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week published a journal article saying leprosy cases in the southeastern states have doubled in the past 10 years.

Nearly a fifth of cases nationwide were found in Florida, and 81% of those were in Central Florida. State health officials also reported a new case of locally contracted malaria two weeks ago. They discovered the case in Sarasota County, where all seven of Florida’s previous cases were found.

Is this a widespread outbreak? A statewide epidemic of leprosy or malaria is highly unlikely. Patients can treat leprosy by taking antibiotics for one to two years.

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Once malaria is contracted, the right medication can eliminate the bacteria within two weeks. Dr. Monica Parise, the director of the CDC Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, described the case of malaria in Florida as consistent with previous small, contained outbreaks.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2023, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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