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Malaria in Sterling Area

September 1, 2002

West Nile Bugs and Now Malaria Bugs.

Empty those pans!

"Write It Down Eugene, Write It Down" said Supervisor Eleanor Towe late Tuesday night, about 11:55 p.m. as another Supervisor lectured me about my "uninformed" opposition to density packing in Loudoun County. I do take lots of notes and I was writing down some of the comments. Towe followed up with "its way too late at night for us to be meeting." She is right. This illustrated to observers that even when I say absolutely nothing and just move a pen on paper, its unnerving to some of my collegues. It also was a very long day on Tuesday, September 3 as we met from 9 a.m. to 12 midnight.

MALARIA CASES IN SUGARLAND RUN, STERLING AREA

This is breaking news. This is different from West Nile Virus.

Two cases of malaria are being reported by authorities today in Sugarland Run, in Loudoun County, Va. This is the first time in recent years that Virginia has had two cases of reported cases of malaria with no history of international travel.

The cases involve a 15 year old male and a 19 year old female who are unrelated and have no recent history of travel outside the USA. Both have been treated and are doing well.

Meeting Set for Saturday Morning

The County will hold a public information meeting on the subject of malaria at 2 P.M. Saturday, September 7, 2002 at Potomac Falls High School, 46400 Algonkian Parkway in Sterling.

The Loudoun County Health Department has issued this FAQ (frequently asked questions) sheet on Malaria.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is malaria?

Malaria is a serious disease caused by a parasite and spread by infected mosquitoes. People infected with malaria can be easily cured when treated by their doctor.

Where does malaria occur?

Malaria occurs in over 100 countries and territories. About 1,200 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States each year. Most cases in the United States are in immigrants and travelers returning from malaria-risk areas while a few cases of malaria are transmitted by locally infected mosquitoes.

How do you get malaria?

Humans get malaria from the bite of an infected mosquito. When a mosquito bites an infected person, it ingests parasites found in the person's blood and can later pass the infection on to another person.

What are the signs and symptoms of malaria? Symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like illness, including shaking chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur. Malaria may also cause anemia and jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and eyes). In people who are sick, malaria is diagnosed by looking for the parasites in a drop of blood. For most people, symptoms begin 1 to 2 weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito, although in rare cases a person may feel ill up to 1 year later.

What should I do if I think I may have been infected with malaria?

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it is important that you contact your doctor since malaria can be cured with prescription drugs.

How can you prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes that may carry disease?

  • Prevent mosquito and other insect bites by using insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin.
  • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, especially at night. This is the time when mosquitoes that spread malaria bite.
  • Fix all window screens in your home or keep your windows closed at night.
  • Eliminate any standing water from around your home, such as in flower pots, tarps, birdbaths, wading pools or tires.
What is the Health Department doing to help keep you safe from these infections?
  • Working to increase public awareness of malaria and other mosquito-borne infections.
  • Cutting down on mosquitoes through the spreading of larvicide and the possible spraying for adult mosquitoes.
  • Working with our local doctors and hospital, to ensure you get the best possible care.
  • Working loosely with experts at the state and federal levels.
For more information call the Loudoun County Health Department at (703)777-0234 or go to the Loudoun County web site at www.loudoun.gov

BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHTS

Starting September 12, I will be meeting parents at each and every back to school night and look forward to seeing you also. If you can, consider volunteering with me on a night that you don't have to be in the school or if you are free. I will need you with me for 2 hours starting at 6:20 p.m. to help hand out Supervisor Delgaudio school surveys. Let me know.

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