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Cases of malaria are on the rise and the US is not ready to deal with it because the supply of drugs left to treat the disease is expired, an expert has warned.
Currently, severe cases of the life-threatening mosquito-borne disease are treated with IV form of quinidine gluconate.
Centers - Disease - Control - Prevention - Supply
However, the Centers of Disease of Control and Prevention's remaining supply of the drug in IV form expired earlier this year, according to Dr Mark Travassos, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School Medicine (UMSOM).
He says there are oral doses of quinidine available but they cannot reduce or slow down parasite replication in the blood as rapidly as the IV form can.
Drug - Day - Hospitals - Dr - Travassos
While there is a non-FDA approved drug that can be used, it can take up to a day to reach hospitals, Dr Travassos says.
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted from the bite of a mosquito to humans.
Symptoms - Fever - Chills - Headache - Muscle
Symptoms are flu-like and include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
Plasmodium falciparum is the parasite that causes malaria's severe form, affecting the liver, the cerebrum and the cardiovascular system.
Malaria - US - Cases - Year - CDC
In 1951, malaria was considered eliminated in the US, but there are still about 1,500 cases diagnosed each year, according to the CDC.
As temperatures rise, mosquito populations worldwide are growing, as is the prevalence of insects carrying the deadly disease.
Increases - People - Country - Country - Risks
Alongside these increases, people are traveling from country to country more, increasing the risks that someone returns to the US from abroad.
Of the 1,500 cases confirmed in 2015 in the US, 259 - about six percent - were serious and needed IV treatment.
Patients - Brain - Involvement - Vomiting - Medication
'Severe malaria patients can have brain involvement or repeated vomiting and may not tolerate oral medication, placing them at high risk for complications,' explained Dr Travassos.
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