Malaria Case Prompts Army to Ask Infectious Disease Experts to Analyze Mosquitoes

A group of infectious disease experts from several American Army institutions has been deployed to analyze mosquitoes after Maryland recently confirmed its first nontravel-connected malaria case in more than 40 years. Experts from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Army’s First Area Medical Laboratory have teamed up to understand the recent case and combat malaria’s potential reemergence within the U.S.

Scientists from the Aberdeen Proving Ground-stationed First Area Medical Laboratory will be deployed to the 44th Medical Brigade in Fort Liberty, North Carolina, and the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command. U.S. soldiers from the 1st AML typically deploy into task-based teams or units to carry out surveillance and  lab testing as well as health hazard evaluations of occupational, environmental and endemic disease along with CBRNE threats.

America launched the National Malaria Eradication Program in 1947 and cut down the number of malaria cases from 15,000 in 1947 to 2,000 in 1950 and zero in 1951.

The Maryland Department of Health recently confirmed the first locally acquired malaria case, marking the first time in more than 40 years a resident contracted the disease without traveling abroad or to states with recent malaria cases such as Texas and Florida. Following the discovery of several malaria cases in Florida and Texas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put out a Health Alert Network health advisory asking doctors to consider malaria when diagnosing patients dealing with fevers of unknown origin.

Maryland Department of Health Secretary Laura Herrera Scott said that the state is taking the malaria case “very seriously” and will partner with health officials at local and federal levels to investigate the malaria case.

The U.S. eliminated locally acquired malaria cases more than 50 years ago and currently averages an estimated 2,000 malaria cases, most of them from people coming to the U.S. from abroad. Maryland has close to 200 travel-related cases of malaria, and the state health department investigates each case to determine their cause.

Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the deputy secretary for Public Health Services, notes that malaria is incredibly dangerous and can be fatal if untreated but is treatable with early intervention. He urged the public to defend themselves against mosquito bites by wearing loose-fitting and long-sleeved clothing when possible, using DEET-containing insect repellent on exposed skin, and covering doors and windows with screens or keeping them closed to deny mosquitoes entry.

The reemergence of infectious diseases such as malaria in countries where they had long been forgotten underscores the necessity of new treatments, including the immunotherapies that many companies such as BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (NASDAQ: BVXV) are working to bring to market.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (NASDAQ: BVXV) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/BVXV

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