Health Alert: Malaria Infects Thousands Of Americans And Heightens Healthcare Costs

First Posted: Apr 27, 2017 05:50 AM EDT

A new report indicates that the mosquito-borne disease known as malaria infected thousands of Americans and created about half a billion dollars in health costs in the U.S. for more than a 15-year time. It seems that some Americans have traveled to places with malaria outbreak and returned home with the harmful malaria disease, according to health experts.

The findings of this study were printed in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The study was led by Diana Khuu, Ph.D., MPH, a scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and other colleagues, according to Medical News Today.

Dr. Khuu said that it appears more and more Americans are traveling to places where malaria is common and many of them are not taking preventive measures. These include mosquito repellents and anti-malarial preventive medications, which are very efficient at preventing infections of the said disease. 

The researchers reviewed that database of malaria patients managed by the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). They discovered that there were 22,000 people admitted to U.S. hospitals diagnosed with malaria between 2000 and 2014.

In addition, there were 4,823 patients with severe malaria. These patients suffered from symptoms like coma, renal failure and acute respiratory distress that heighten the risk of death and 182 of them died. The team also discovered that the average cost per patient was about $25,800 and from 2000 to 2014, the total cost for the treatment of malaria patients amounted to $555 million. With this, the experts are urging the U.S. to continue to invest in tropical medicine research efforts and programs to fight the dangerous malaria disease.

Meanwhile, 28 million Kenyans are affected by malaria this 2017, according to the Ministry of Health in Kenya. The government is doing an effort to eliminate malaria and providing vaccine to prevent the disease from spreading, according to Media Max Network. 

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