Malaria is a febrile illness caused by several protozoan species in the genus Plasmodium. The parasite is transmitted to humans by bites from infected Anopheles genus mosquitoes. The risk of malaria is highest in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Although local transmission of malaria frequently occurred in Minnesota over 100 years ago, all of the cases reported in Minnesota residents in recent years have been imported infections acquired abroad.
In 2016, 66 malaria cases (1.2 per 100,000 population) were reported. Fifty-two (79%) cases were identified with P. falciparum, 5 (8%) with P. vivax, 4 (6%) with P. ovale, 4 (6%) with P. malariae, and 1 (2%) with mixed Plasmodium species infection. The median age of cases was 33 years (range, 1 to 80 years). Of the 58 cases with known race, 51 (77%) were black, 4 (6%) were white, 1 (2%) was Asian, and 1 (2%) was American Indian or Alaskan Native. Sixty-three cases were Minnesota residents at the time of their illness, 55 (87%) of which resided in the metropolitan area. Three patients were residents of a country other than the United States. Of the 58 cases with known country of birth, 5 (9%) were born in the United States. Sixty-one (92%) cases in 2016 likely acquired malaria in Africa, and 3 (5%) cases were likely acquired in Asia. Exposure information was not available for 2 cases.
Eighteen countries were considered possible exposure locations for malaria infections, including Liberia (19), Nigeria (9), Cameroon (6), Ethiopia (5), and Sierra Leone (5), as well as several other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
- For up to date information see>> Reporting Malaria (Plasmodium spp.)
- Full issue>> Annual Summary of Communicable Diseases Reported to the Minnesota Department of Health, 2016