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MALARIA INFECTS SOMALIA VETS

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Some U.S. military personnel who served in Somalia are coming home infected with malaria, but federal health officials say the risk of further transmission of the disease in this country is very low.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday malaria was diagnosed in 131 U.S. soldiers and Marines, including 48 who became ill while in Somalia. U.S. troops were sent to the war-wracked east African nation to ensure delivery of food and medical supplies to the starving population.The CDC said "this substantial number of cases" has raised concerns about prevention of malaria, the risk for infection and the need for prompt recognition and treatment of malaria in military personnel.

However, the health agency said there is only a very small chance that the infected soldiers could spread the disease to other people in the United States.

Although malaria, which is characterized by chills and flu-like symptoms, can be transmitted through blood, it is mostly spread by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito.