Via The Independent: Climate change is increasing the risk of malaria for people living in mountainous regions in the tropics. Excerpt:
Millions of people living at higher altitudes in the tropics will be at risk of malaria as a result of rising temperatures and climate change, according to an analysis of the disease over the past two decades in two mountainous regions in South America and Africa.
Scientists found that when temperatures increased, malaria affected people at higher altitudes than when temperatures were cooler. It is the first study on the ground to show how temperature changes can affect the risk of malaria in populations living 1,200 metres above sea level.
Although researchers have long debated whether malaria will move as a result of climate change, this is one of the first studies showing that the disease does migrate higher when temperatures rise, which threatens the many millions of people who live in historically malaria-free regions of the high-altitude tropics.
“We have identified that malaria does indeed move up and down and that the movement is temperature dependent. It’s been difficult to prove and people have been questioning it now for 20 years,” said Menno Bouma of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who was part of the research team.
“The implications are that if this is true, and that a global warming is occurring leading to an increase in temperatures, then malaria will increase at higher altitudes where many people live. The high altitude areas in the tropics are particularly highly populated,” Dr Bouma said.
The study was published in the March 7 issue of Science. You can read the abstract here.