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Scottsdale Healthcare screening LPGA players for malaria

PHOENIX -- Scottsdale Healthcare provided blood draws Wednesday morning for players, caddies and family members wishing to be screened for malaria symptoms following Natalie Gulbis' withdrawal from the RR Donnelly LPGA Founders Cup.

Dr. Denis Stizza, a board-certified emergency physician from nearby Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital, was on-site along with nurses from Scottsdale Healthcare's tournament first aid station to answer questions from players and staff. The LPGA Tour recently returned from a tournament in Singapore.

Malaria is caused by a parasite and generally spread through mosquito bites, said Dr. Stizza. It may mimic flu-like symptoms and be accompanied by a fever. Blood samples taken this morning will be tested at Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital and results reported to players within 24 hours.

Dr. Stizza added that symptoms typically may take up to two weeks to appear after exposure, and may appear up to one year after exposure. It is most prevalent in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1,500 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States each year. Almost all are in travelers or immigrants returning from parts of the world where malaria transmission occurs.

In the greater Phoenix area, there were 100 suspected cases of malaria reported to Maricopa County between 2003 and 2009. Upon investigation, 86 cases were found to be confirmed or probable. All of these cases were acquired while visiting countries outside of the United States, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital is located near the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa, site of the RR Donnelly Founders Cup. The hospital's location in a world-class resort area means its ER physicians are accustomed to seeing patients and visitors from all over the world who may require diagnosis of symptoms or illness they may have acquired during international travels.

Malaria facts:

Parasitic disease with four major strains: Plasmodium Vivax; Plasmodium Orale; Plasmodium Malariae; Plasmodium Falciparum (can be most serious)

Typically transmitted by mosquito bites

Incubation period is typically 9-14 days; can be upwards of 40 days and up to 12 months

Symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, anemia

Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital includes a 24-hour emergency care and certified chest pain center, and intensive care unit, diagnostics and laboratory services, a new 28-bed medical-surgical unit for orthopedic and spine surgery patients, and a women's health and healing unit that supports the needs of those receiving treatment for gynecological cancers including ovarian, uterine and cervical cancer.

Scottsdale Healthcare is a Founding Partner for the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, participating in the charity discount ticket program through ScottsdaleHealthcareTickets.org, providing on-site first aid and sponsoring Scottsdale Healthcare Day at the Founders Cup since the tournament's 2001 debut.

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