The study shows that health and climate are linked more than we thought

The study shows that health and climate are linked more than we thought

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Climate change could increase malaria transmission In populated areas of Africa, According to the Institute for Global Health in Barcelona, ​​Spain, (ISGlobal), which verified that the slowdown in global warming between 1998 and 2005 led to a decrease in malaria transmission in the Ethiopian highlands.

Study led by ISGlobal, a center promoted by La Caixa and the University of Chicago, which publishes the journal Nature Communications, Has shown “A close relationship between climate and health”. Doctors and scientists have long debated the effect of global warming on malaria.

Experts believe that one of the areas where the greatest impact can be observed is in the highlands, where lower temperatures limit carrier abundance, causing Intermittent and seasonal outbreaks Of the disease.

“We see that the epidemiology of malaria in these areas is tightly controlled by climate monitoring, which is manifesting itself at all levels (months, years and even decades), which Get rid of the debate once On whether or not climate change is affecting malaria dynamics in Africa, said Xavier Rudeau, ISGlobal Climate and Health Program Director and first author of the study.

Rodó noted that at the end of the last century they observed a decrease in the incidence of malaria in East Africa that could be the result of an increase in Control measures against disease Or it may be due to a temporary slowdown in the increase in the average global temperature of the Earth’s surface, a phenomenon observed between 1998 and 2005.

To verify this, researchers studied an area Oromia (Ethiopia)It is a densely populated plateau located between 1,600 and 2,500 meters in elevation. In this region, they have very complete records of annual malaria cases for both parasites (Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax LLC) Between 1968 and 2007, while public health interventions were to control disease They weren’t reinforced in the region until 2004.

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Climate and parasite control

A) Yes, They were able to separate the influence of the weather The effect of control measures on parasites, and using a mathematical model, I analyzed the relationship between malaria cases, regional climate (local temperatures and precipitation) and global climate (especially from the Pacific due to the influence of El Niño etc.) – called the Pacific Nodal Oscillation).

The results showed that the difference in the incidence of malaria from both parasites is Connect “very well” With changes in regional temperature: the decrease in temperature in the region related to the impact of climate change coincided with the decrease in malaria cases observed since 2000, that is, five years before the disease control measures.

This in turn coincided with the intraday slowdown of An increase in the global average temperature From the Earth’s surface due to El Niño and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

The analysis also shows that there is a “chain reaction” in between Climate variability at the global level (In this case, the Pacific Ocean temperature) and regional temperature variation in East Africa, which ultimately translates into new malaria cases in the Ethiopian highlands.

“The relationship between disease dynamics and climatic conditions It is very narrow Which are observed in different time scales: from seasonal courses to multi-year courses and even ten-year courses, ”Uruguay professor of ecology at the University of Chicago, Mercedes Pascual, explained in detail in a statement.

“The occurrence of malaria not only reflects the changes in temperature, which we have already shown, but also the decrease in warming observed when The beginning of the century The aim of this study, “According to Pascual. For Rudeau,” is evidence that the slowdown in global warming has had an impact on malaria transmission The strong link between climate and health. “

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