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Malaria Outbreak in the Bahamas Prompts Screening

Bahamian health officials are screening inmates at an immigration detention center in Nassau as the government seeks to contain a malaria outbreak on the southern island of Great Exuma.

Fourteen cases of the potentially fatal disease have been confirmed in Great Exuma, south of Nassau. Officials say they decided to test inmates at the Carmichael Road detention center in Nassau because the facility holds many illegal immigrants from Haiti, where malaria is endemic.

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, said in a statement Friday that the mosquito-borne disease is not considered endemic on the islands of the Bahamas; but, it said some residents may have traveled from Haiti recently.

The CDC says the confirmed infections were caused by a malaria strain known as plasmodium falciparum, which may lead to a life-threatening illness if not treated.

The CDC recommends that travelers to Great Exuma take anti-malarial medications such as chloroquine and take measures to prevent mosquito bites.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.