Climate Variability and Change and Its Effects on Malaria

  • Jeffrey D. Stanaway University of Washington
  • Jonathan D. Mayer University of Washington
Keywords: Malaria, Medical Geography, Epidemiology, Infectious Disease, Climate Change


There is little scientific doubt that the earth is undergoing profound climate change, with much of it driven by human activity. The effects of climate change on the distribution of infectious disease remain less apparent than the fact of climate change itself. It is reasonable to expect that diseases that are mediated by climate, and whose distribution is partly governed by climate, will undergo changes in distribution as environmental conditions change. Malaria, a vectorborne disease, is highly subject to environmental and climatic influences. Nonetheless, it has proven difficult to generalize about the effects of climate change on malaria, and to predict future effects. The El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is one possible way of simulating the long-term effects of climate change on malaria, but efforts to do this have produced contradictory results that depend highly on location. In this paper, we synthesize and review the results of studies on the climate change-malaria distribution relationships, and discuss the possibility and need for developing malaria early warning systems.


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