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Mosquitoes Carry Malaria, as Well as West Nile

Malaria-carrying mosquitoes have been found in Maryland, near the area where two teenagers became ill with the disease this past summer. "Having two cases of domestically transmitted malaria, and finding two pools of positive mosquitoes, hasn't happened for decades in the U.S.," says health authority David Goodfriend.

Health officials say the strain of malaria-causing parasite in the local mosquitoes gives people a mild form of malaria that can be easily treated. This is not the same kind of malaria that kills millions of people in third-world countries. As the weather gets cooler, many of these mosquitoes will die off, solving the problem for this season, at least. Richard Steketee, of the Centers for Disease Control, says, "There is malaria out there, and we have to pay attention to it."

One of the pools of infected insects was found about 6 ? miles from the area where the teenagers who were infected lived. Another pool was four miles from where the teenagers lived. Goodfriend says the malarial mosquitoes in these pools are not the ones that infected the teenagers, since the mosquitoes that transmit the disease usually don't fly more than about a half-mile. This means that there?s another person who is the source of the parasite that the mosquitoes are spreading, but this person?s identity remains a secret, since no other cases of malaria have been identified.

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