Climate Change Increases Malaria In Africa: Study Reveals New Findings

First Posted: Dec 01, 2015 04:16 PM EST

As climate change continues, malaria will increase significantly, spreading across to larger parts of Africa, according to a study at the University of Florida. The researchers predict that areas that are easily impacted by the disease will shrink, however the disease will most likely channel into new areas.

The researchers used a model that examined the physical and physiological aspects of mosquitoes and the malaria parasite to temperature. The model revealed that the basic transmission temperature for malaria is 25 degrees Celsius, which is a 6 degrees Celsius lower compared to other predictive models.

"Mapping a mathematical predictive model of a climate-driven infectious disease like malaria allows us to develop tools to understand both spatial and seasonal dynamics, and to anticipate the future changes to those dynamics," Sadie Ryan, lead author of the study and geology professor at UF, said in a news release. Ryan is also a member of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at UF.

The study revealed that by 2080, the highest-risk transmission zone will spread from coastal West Africa, to the Albertine Rift, which divides Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Seasonal and low-risk transmission of malaria will move north into sub-Saharan Africa. The study also highlighted that some parts of Africa will become too hot for malaria.

Ryan claimed that malaria will be a threat to new populations and the disease could probably escalate from an endemic to an epidemic. The spread of the disease will be difficult to control and will require significant changes in public health management.

This study is shedding on future malaria outbreaks of malaria and it can enable public health officials to develop ways to prevent and control the spread of mosquito borne viruses.

The findings of this study were published in the journal Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases.

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