UPDATE: Birmingham patient thought to have Ebola actually has malaria

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A man who was taken to UAB Hospital on Tuesday after showing Ebola-like symptoms has tested positive for malaria instead.

The Alabama Department of Public Health confirms the man’s test results for Ebola are negative. Staff had been monitoring this individual since arrival from a country with widespread Ebola.  ADPH has not recommended that anyone be quarantined.

The patient is improving and has evidence of an illness other than Ebola that can account for symptoms. ABC3340 reports the patient has malaria.

The ADPH says an average of eight individuals are monitored for Ebola each month; 109 people have completed 21-day monitoring for Ebola, and four are currently being tracked in Alabama.

The ADPH says while this person is no longer currently under investigation for Ebola, public health will continue to monitor until the 21-day period is over.

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that is curable if caught in time.  The Centers for Disease Control says approximately 1,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with malaria every year.  The vast majority of cases in the United States are in travelers and immigrants returning from parts of the world where malaria transmission occurs, including sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Globally, the World Health Organization estimates that in 2013, 198 million clinical cases of malaria occurred, and 500,000 people died of malaria, most of them children in Africa.

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