An Anopheles stephensi mosquito, which can carry the malaria parasite. (credit: CDC)

A seventh person has been diagnosed with a locally acquired case of malaria in Florida’s Sarasota County, state health officials reported this week.

The rare outbreak is now in its third month after authorities in the Sunshine State reported the first case in May. When Florida had identified four cases by late June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a health alert to clinicians calling locally acquired malaria cases in the US a “public health emergency.”

Florida’s outbreak and a single, unrelated case in Texas from June collectively mark the first time in two decades that the US has seen locally acquired malaria cases, which, if left untreated, can be deadly. In the last instance, in 2003, Florida officials reported a small outbreak of at least seven people in Palm Beach.

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