A Look At Malaria And Climate Change
Original title is way overblown so I quote it here—
It’s about to get a lot harder to escape from malaria
On to the good content-
The researchers found that that the average altitude of malaria cases shifted to higher elevations in warmer years and back to lower elevations in cooler years. Did Pascual expect to find this link? “Yes,” she tells io9, “but I never thought the signal would be this clear.”
That signal is relevant to epidemiologists faced with confronting malaria as effectively as possible in the coming decades. “We know there some regions of the world that will be more sensitive to climate change and variability that others,” Pascual says; “highlands, the edges of deserts, coastal regions, and so forth.” These are areas where climate plays a limiting role, be it in the distribution of animals, plant life, sea levels or disease, she explains - factors that underscore the need for localized intervention.
Consider, for example, that populations in regions like Antioquia and Debre Zeit currently lack protective immunity to malaria. This makes them more vulnerable to the disease. And yet, the fact that these high-risk populations currently exist at the fringes of malaria’s altitudinal range could make them easier to protect - at least for the time being - than those in highly endemic, lower-elevation regions.
“In my opinion,” says Pascual, we need to deal with [Malaria] regionally, not globally.” By understanding climate’s effect on malaria incidence at the local level, she reasons, epidemiologists can be more effective in alleviating the disease’s global burden.