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Scientists: Malaria control to overcome disease’s spread as climate warms
Date:5/19/2010

etter 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."


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Contact: David Smith
smitdave@gmail.com
202-731-4896
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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