(TodayNews) — With seven confirmed cases of malaria in Sarasota County, concern is growing over its spread.
A Florida doctor told TodayNews several times about his own experience of surviving malaria.
Dr. Immanuel Amissa, Family Medicine Physician at WellMed at North Tamiami Trail in North Fort Myers, is originally from Africa and has not only suffered from malaria several times, but has treated many patients with malaria.
“I grew up in Africa. I was born and raised there, so malaria is a common disease that we get very often. So this is nothing new for us,” said Dr. Amissa. “My symptoms are constant. I start to sweat and my joints hurt, so I know it’s malaria. I don’t even need to take tests, I go straight to treatment, and I feel better in a day.”
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Dr. Amissa said it is critical that people take malaria warnings seriously, as the disease can be deadly.
“The important thing is that it is treated. So if you are sick, treated on time, your life will be saved. Otherwise, you could die from malaria if you don’t get medical help,” said Dr. Amissa.
Dr. Amissa said the problem with malaria is that the symptoms can be mistaken for the flu.
“It’s very difficult in the sense that malaria is not a common disease in the US, so you think you have the flu. But if you live in an area where cases have been reported and you have these flu-like symptoms coming and going and you don’t feel well, you need to see a doctor. Or if you have traveled outside the country to a place where malaria is common,” said Dr. Amissa.
All seven cases were in the North Sarasota area, county health officials said. Officials continued to focus their efforts on the DeSoto Acres and Kensington Park areas.
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Two cases were identified in the homeless. Health workers have distributed more than 1,000 cans of mosquito repellant and donated 45 bed nets to organizations that serve the homeless.
Sarasota County Mosquito Control operates extensive specialized trapping operations specifically for Anopheles mosquitoes. Approximately 130 of them were sent to the CDC for evaluation. All mosquitoes caught since June 5 have tested negative, county health officials said.
Sarasota officials offered the following tips to help protect residents from mosquito bites:
- Try not to be outside between sunset and sunrise.
- Wear water-repellent and loose-fitting long-sleeve shirts and long trousers.
- Drain any standing water in your area.
- Remove aquatic vegetation from ponds, lakes, canals, ditches, and anything that retains water for a long time and has overgrown vegetation.