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SCIENCE / HEALTH -
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Climate link to African malaria

Posted in the database on Tuesday, March 21st, 2006 @ 18:18:03 MST (1872 views)
by Burning Monk    Guerilla News Network  

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Summary:

In Africa, a child succumbs every 30 seconds to malaria.

Combine that with this news and you have a possible recipe for disaster.

On a related note. Have you ever heard about Neglected Tropical Diseases (leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths, and trachoma)?

These diseases, which are considered to be related to extreme poverty, affect several hundred million people, and kill at least half a million annually, and yet they garner little attention, or funding, from donors, policymakers, and public health officials who only seem to have eyes for The Big Three (AIDS, TB and Malaria).

But, as one researcher said: Controlling Africa’s neglected diseases is one of the more convincing ways to ‘make poverty history’ through affordable, pro-poor, effective, and tested strategies. The cost would be negligible, a mere 40 cents per person per year, compared with a minimum of $200 per person per year to treat HIV/AIDS, $200 to treat a single episode of TB, and $7-10 to treat a single episode of malaria.

Controlling these NTD’s could have a proportionately greater impact on more poor people’s health as well as being more equitable for the majority of Africa’s poorest and marginalised communities.

Time for less rhetoric and more realism.

[Posted By BurningMonk]

____________________________

By Richard Black
Republished from
the BBC

Rising temperatures may partly explain increasing cases of malaria in regions of Africa, new research suggests.

Temperatures in East African highlands have risen by half a degree Celsius in the last 50 years, scientists found.

Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), they say this small rise may have doubled the number of malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

Malaria has recently emerged in parts of the highlands, with climate change one possible explanation among many.

The new research relies on a fresh analysis of temperature data for four highland locations in western Kenya, southwestern Uganda, southern Rwanda and northern Burundi.

“Previous researchers had analysed the same sites and not found evidence for warming,” said Mercedes Pascual from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, US.

“So we revisited it with a longer data set and longer analysis up to 2002,” she told the BBC News website.

“We found there has been a rise of about half a degree Celsius over 50 years, but we see it mainly from the end of the 1970s to the present.”

Fitting the pattern

In recent years malaria has emerged or re-emerged in several parts of the East African highlands, where temperatures are many degrees cooler than in low-lying areas.

Factors considered as possible explanations include increasing movement of people, rising resistance to anti-malarial drugs, and decreasing quality of health care.

Climate change has also been proposed as something that could affect the Anopheles mosquitoes which transmit the malaria parasite, either through higher temperatures or increased rainfall.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the global body which collates scientific information on the extent of climatic shifts and their impacts, said in its 2001 report: “Future climate change may increase transmission in some highland regions, such as in East Africa.”

The new research integrates temperature changes into a computer program which models the mosquito population.

For a half-degree rise, the model predicts that mosquito numbers would rise by between 30% and 100%.

“The impact comes from the effect of temperature on their time to development,” said Dr Pascual, “and then more weakly on the lifetime of the adults – but it’s mainly the accelerated rate of development.”

In lowland areas where mosquitoes are abundant and malaria endemic, such an increase would probably have a marginal effect on rates of infection.

But in highland areas, where the insects are much scarcer, it is likely to be a key factor affecting transmission rates.

“Our results do not mean that temperature is the only or the main factor driving the increase in malaria,” concluded Dr Pascual, “but it is one of many factors that should be considered.”



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