Navigation Links
Scientists: Malaria control to overcome disease’s spread as climate warms

GAINESVILLE, Fla. Contrary to a widespread assumption, global warming is unlikely to expand the range of malaria because of malaria control, development and other factors that are at work to corral the disease.

So concludes a team of scientists including two University of Florida researchers in a paper set to appear May 20 in the journal Nature.

Scientists and public policy makers have been concerned that warming temperatures would create conditions that would either push malaria into new areas or make it worse in existing ones. But the team of six scientists, including David Smith and Andy Tatem, faculty members with UF's biology and geography departments and both at UF's Emerging Pathogens Institute, analyzed a historical contraction of the geographic range and general reduction in the intensity of malaria a contraction that occurred over a century during which the globe warmed. They determined that if the future trends are like past ones, the contraction is likely to continue under the most likely warming scenarios.

"If we continue to fund malaria control, we can certainly be prepared to counteract the risk that warming could expand the global distribution of malaria," Smith said.

The team, part of the Wellcome Trust's multinational Malaria Atlas Project, noted that malaria control efforts over the past century have shrunk the prevalence of the disease from most of the world to a region including Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and South America, with the bulk of fatalities confined to Africa. This has occurred despite a global temperature rise of about 1 degree Fahrenheit, on average, during the same period.

"The globe warmed over the past century, but the range of malaria contracted substantially," Tatem said. "Warming isn't the only factor that affects malaria."

The reasons why malaria has shrunk are varied and in some countries mysterious, but they usually include mosquito control efforts, better access to health care, urbanization and economic development. The banned pesticide DDT was instrumental in ridding the disease from 24 countries in Southern Europe, the former Soviet Union and elsewhere in the world between 1955 and 1969, Smith said. Researchers debate how the U.S. defeated malaria, but the reduction of mosquito breeding grounds, improved housing and reduced emphasis on agriculture that comes with development and the reduced risk of bites that accompanies urbanization probably played a role, Smith said.

"There is no one tale that seems to determine the story globally," Tatem said. "If we had to choose one thing, we would guess economic development, but that's kind of a cop out" because the specific mechanisms may still remain unclear, and controlling malaria might also help to kick-start development.

In any case, current malaria control efforts such as insecticide-treated bed nets, modern low-cost diagnostic kits and new anti-malarial drugs, have proved remarkably effective, with more and more countries achieving control or outright elimination. Unless current control efforts were to suddenly stop, they are likely to counteract the spread of mosquitoes or other malaria-spreading effects from anticipated temperature increases, Smith said.

Simon Hay, an author of t2he Nature paper and one of the chief architects of the Malaria Atlas Project, noted that modern malaria control efforts "reduce transmission massively and counteract the much smaller effects of rising temperatures."

"Malaria remains a huge public health problem, and the international community has an unprecedented opportunity to relieve this burden with existing interventions," he said. "Any failure in meeting this challenge will be very difficult to attribute to climate change."


Contact: David Smith
University of Florida

Related biology news :

1. Binghamton University researchers investigate evolving malaria resistance
2. Advance in effort to fight malaria by tricking the mosquitos sense of smell
3. Progress Against Malaria: Developments on the Horizon
4. MSU researcher helps develop computer game for Ugandan children recovering from cerebral malaria
5. Bug-Zapper: A dose of radiation may help knock out malaria
6. Study of malaria parasite in patient blood finds distinct physiological states
7. CWRU School of Medicine has evidence vaccine against malaria will reduce disease
8. Monkey malaria widespread in humans and potentially fatal
9. Netting mosquitoes to prevent malaria
10. Scientists demonstrate feasibility of preventing malaria parasite from becoming sexually mature
11. Research exposes new target for malaria drugs
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/12/2015)... , Nov. 12, 2015  A golden retriever ... Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) has provided a new lead ... Children,s Hospital, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard ... Brazil . Cell, pinpoints ... dogs "escape" the disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... --  MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology company ... to announce that it will be a Sponsor of the ... be held November 17-19 in Hamburg , ... iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and affordable ... been able to deliver time and cost savings of up ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... 09, 2015 ... the "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market ... --> ) has announced the ... Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to their ... ( ) has announced the addition ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... Oregon , November 25, 2015 ... Market Research Report is a professional and in-depth ... industry.      (Logo: ) ... overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, applications ... is provided for the international markets including development ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. ... Healthcare Conference in New York on Wednesday, ... Helen Torley , president and CEO, will provide a corporate ... New York at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT ... and investor relations, will provide a corporate overview. --> ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015  Clintrax Global, Inc., a worldwide provider of clinical research ... announced that the company has set a new quarterly earnings record ... quarter growth posted for Q3 of 2014 to Q3 of 2015. ... Mexico , with the establishment of an Asia-Pacific ... United Kingdom and Mexico ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 ... recent market research report released by Transparency Market Research, ... expand at a CAGR of 17.5% during the period ... Testing Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Volume, Share, ... global non-invasive prenatal testing market to reach a valuation ...
Breaking Biology Technology: