- The Washington Times - Monday, September 30, 2002

Montgomery County health officials have called in the military to help find, trap and eradicate mosquitoes carrying malaria.
The county asked for help from the Uniform Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda after learning that two teenagers just across the Potomac River in Loudoun County, Va., had contracted malaria.
Mosquito traps have been set at water depositories, primarily around Poolesville, near the 10-mile border with Loudoun. Montgomery borders 25 miles of the Potomac, but malaria has not been found elsewhere.
Like other jurisdictions throughout the United States, Montgomery County was already on alert for mosquitoes this year but for the Culex species, which transmit West Nile virus.
West Nile which first came to the United States in 1999, killing seven persons in New York City has spread this year to infect 2,206 and kill 108 in 32 states and the District, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
Malaria, which has been around since before the Civil War, is not as deadly now in the United States. The CDC reported 1,402 cases of malaria in 2000.
However, up to 400 million malaria cases in 90 nations are reported each year. Most severe malaria strikes sub-Saharan Africa. More than 2 million die annually in Africa and Asia, according to the World Health Organization.
The Loudoun County teenagers who came down with malaria, a 19-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy, are taking antibiotics and recovering. Health officials said they probably were infected by female anopheline mosquitoes, which previously bit someone who had traveled from a foreign country.
The youths lived four miles from Broad Run and 6 miles from Lansdowne, east of Leesburg, where Loudoun health officials subsequently caught female anopheles infected with malaria.
There probably was no pool-to-pool spread of malaria because anopheline mosquitoes rarely travel more than a half-mile, said David Goodfriend, director of Loudoun County's health department.
Those infected pools are less than a mile from Montgomery County. Traps have been set in Montgomery, and the mosquitoes will be collected and tested this week. County officials said it would be the first testing for malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
In Loudoun County, new traps and more larvicide are being used.
"There is malaria out there, and we have to pay attention to it," said Richard W. Steketee, chief of the malaria epidemiology branch at the CDC.
Clarke Mosquito Control, the company Loudoun County hired to catch mosquitoes, found the first pool of malaria-infected mosquitoes in a trap set up at a local retirement community concerned about West Nile virus.
This malady, which is spread more widely by birds, is most deadly to the elderly and persons with weakened immune systems. First symptoms are head and body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. As it worsens, it can cause paralysis, coma and encephalitis.
Malaria, which is a parasite that lives within a victim, causes cycles of chills, fever and sweating.
West Nile-carrying mosquitoes thrive in dirty, standing water pools. The female anopheles prefer clean water, such as rain that collects in tires, cans, birdbaths and pools.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.


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