"To estimate 'true' EIP we need to capture the influence of daily temperature fluctuations using hourly temperature data," said Justine Blanford. "But hourly temperature data does not exist for all locations in Kenya or across Africa."
The researchers estimated hourly temperatures using data on minimum monthly and maximum monthly temperatures. This does not equal the hourly temperatures but can be compared to the mean monthly temperatures usually used to determine malaria risk. This estimation method compared well with the data from the four Kenyan locations.
Applying this method to other locations in Kenya, they found that "mean temperatures overestimate parasite development rate under warm conditions, provide a good approximation of growth under intermediate conditions and underestimate development under cool conditions."
When looking at all of Africa, the area in and around the equator has similar EIP measurements regardless of the method used. However, there are areas in Africa where current methods over or under estimate EIP by 100 percent or more.
"The vast majority of ecological studies examining temperature-dependent effects consider mean temperature alone," said Justine Blanford.
According to the researchers, daily temperature dynamics could have marked effects on many species, affecting understanding of both current ecology and the expected responses to future climate change.
|Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer|