For years, I have questioned what sickness I got years ago after a series of bug bites in a bayou in New Orleans. I’ve just read the symptoms described here and they fit everything I was suffering with. I even had problems with my liver, but I was never tested for Malaria because I had immediately left New Orleans for Italy. I never thought of mentioning it. This mysterious illness cropped up in different forms over the years and really I was never the same after it. It has been almost 12 years, and I still suffer from recurring illness which antibiotics help for a while, but it always comes back. Could it be that I have had Malaria in my system all this time?
While malaria was officially eradicated from the US in the 1950s, certainly the swamps and bayous of Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf were a key habitat and a major source of transmission prior to eradication. I just found a news report in the New York Times from October 1883 which reported 16 deaths due to “malarial fever” in the previous week alone!
While these days, virtually all of the 1,500 or so cases of malaria observed in the US every year are attributed to overseas travel, in 2002 a handful of cases of malaria in northern Virginia were believed to be due to local transmission. Prompt treatment, personal protective measures (such as screening houses) and vector control quickly quelled that mini-outbreak.
Given this history along with your symptoms, and particularly your recurrent episodes of fever, I would not rule out malaria, obtained in Louisiana, as a possibility! You should talk to your doctor about the possibility of a serological test for the antibodies against malaria—if positive, you should try to have a blood test done next time you have the recurrence of symptoms. If malaria is confirmed, you should report your case to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Domestic Malaria Unit, which monitors all malaria cases in the US.