A woman aged 44, resident in the small town of Huesca Monegros Cartuja (350 inhabitants) has become the first case of autochthonous malaria in Spain for half a century, when the disease was eradicated. Malaria is contracted by the bite of a female anopheles mosquito that has previously been infected by biting a disease carrier.
As the patient did not fit into any of the usual causes of infection (foreign travel to an endemic area, blood transfusion, organ transplantation or visits to an airport), epidemiologists have concluded that only a native mosquito, the parasite previously infected ( Plasmodium), malaria can be contracted
The strange case appeared in late September, when the woman showed a picture similar to a flu syndrome. By not remitting the symptoms, the Hospital San Jorge de Huesca chose to perform a microbiological test detected malaria and confirmed by the Institute of Health Carlos III.
The variant detected malaria is the most benign (Plasmodium vivax) and comes mainly from Central America and parts of India. Epidemiological services of the Government of Aragon, now try to locate the first carrier and identify the origin through genetic profiles of the parasite.
Francisco Javier Falo, director of Public Health of Aragon, played down the case and stressed that the chances of another infection are slim.
Malaria was eradicated in Spain in 1964 and three years before detection of the latter. In Spain every year, five hundred infections detected, but imported.