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Climate change and the resurgence of malaria in the East African highlands

Simon I. Hay (), Jonathan Cox, David J. Rogers, Sarah E. Randolph, David Stern (), G. Dennis Shanks, Monica F. Myers and Robert W. Snow
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Simon I. Hay: TALA Research Group, University of Oxford
Jonathan Cox: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
David J. Rogers: TALA Research Group, University of Oxford
Sarah E. Randolph: Oxford Tick Research Group, University of Oxford
G. Dennis Shanks: US Army Medical Research Unit – Kenya
Monica F. Myers: Decision Systems Technologies, Inc. (DSTI)
Robert W. Snow: Kenya Medical Research Institute/Wellcome Trust Collaborative Programme

Nature, 2002, vol. 415, issue 6874, 905-909

Abstract: Abstract The public health and economic consequences of Plasmodium falciparum malaria are once again regarded as priorities for global development. There has been much speculation on whether anthropogenic climate change is exacerbating the malaria problem, especially in areas of high altitude where P. falciparum transmission is limited by low temperature1,2,3,4. The International Panel on Climate Change has concluded that there is likely to be a net extension in the distribution of malaria and an increase in incidence within this range5. We investigated long-term meteorological trends in four high-altitude sites in East Africa, where increases in malaria have been reported in the past two decades. Here we show that temperature, rainfall, vapour pressure and the number of months suitable for P. falciparum transmission have not changed significantly during the past century or during the period of reported malaria resurgence. A high degree of temporal and spatial variation in the climate of East Africa suggests further that claimed associations between local malaria resurgences and regional changes in climate are overly simplistic.

Date: 2002
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DOI: 10.1038/415905a

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