New Study Says Climate Change May Lead to Decreased Risk of Malaria: But is This Good News?

New Study Says Climate Change May Lead to Decreased Risk of Malaria: But is This Good News?
New Study Says Climate Change May Lead to Decreased Risk of Malaria: But is This Good News?

Africa-Press – Ghana. Since malaria is most common in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, Africa is the continent that suffers the greatest burden of the disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with a staggering 94% of global cases and 95% of the world’s deaths occurring on the continent in 2022.

A recent study conducted by the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom has forecasted that the effects of climate change, namely the increase in hot and dry conditions, will result in a reduction of areas that are ideal for the transmission of malaria from 2025 onwards.”With explicit surface water representation, we predict a net decrease in areas suitable for malaria transmission from 2025 onward, greater sensitivity to future greenhouse gas emissions, and different, more complex, malaria transmission patterns,” the study read.

Although this news may seem positive at first glance, there would be a trade-off in terms of diminished water accessibility and an increased likelihood of another major disease, dengue.

“The warming and drying trends underlying this decrease in areas suitable for malaria themselves present profound environmental and social challenges, including other predictions that this trend will increase dengue suitability,” the paper read.

The scientists explained that past evaluations conducted across Africa have typically focused exclusively on surface water by considering just precipitation, disregarding several significant hydrological processes. In this study, they used a validated and weighted combination of global hydrological and climate models to calculate the current and future regions where the conditions are suitable for malaria transmission.

The researchers hope that further progress in their modeling will enable the analysis of more intricate aspects of water body dynamics, which might contribute valuable insights to national malaria control programs.

The international community has also recently begun to talk about the impact of climate change on the spread of malaria. The 2023 World Malaria Report by the World Health Organization introduced a new chapter on the connection between malaria and climate change. This chapter emphasized the importance of this link as a possible factor that might increase the risks associated with malaria.

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