ATLANTA, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- In 2011, 1,925 U.S. malaria cases were reported -- the highest since 1971 and a 48 percent increase from 2008, federal health officials found.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said the majority of malaria infections in the United States occurred among people who traveled to regions with malaria. Of the 1,925 malaria cases in 2011, only five were not classified as imported.
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite transmitted through the saliva of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. The initial symptoms of this disease are often compared with those of a severe case of the flu -- people will often experience fever, chills, headaches and nausea.
In 2011, five people died in the United States from malaria or associated complications, but malaria is a curable disease if diagnosed and treated promptly with the proper medications, the CDC said. A mosquito can become infected when it takes a blood meal from an infected human and transfers the disease to another human.
Globally the number of malaria cases in endemic regions is decreasing, but international travel appears to be growing steadily and the use of appropriate prevention measures by travelers is still inadequate, the CDC said.