Climate, environment and the transmission of malaria

posted in: malaria awareness, news, research | 0

A new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the world’s leading authority on climate science – has warned that climate change will probably cause global temperatures to rise by more than 1.5C, bringing widespread extreme weather.

Today we are highlighting a recent article by Antonella Rossati, Olivia Bargiacchi, Vesselina Kroumova, Marco Zaramella, Annamaria Caputo, Pietro Luigi Garavelli on climate, environment and transmission of malaria. We have excerpted the abstract below, and the full article is available here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27367318/.

Malaria, the most common parasitic disease in the world, is transmitted to the human host by mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. The transmission of malaria requires the interaction between the host, the vector and the parasite. The four species of parasites responsible for human malaria are Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium vivax. Occasionally humans can be infected by several simian species, like Plasmodium knowlesi, recognised as a major cause of human malaria in South-East Asia since 2004. While P. falciparum is responsible for most malaria cases, about 8% of estimated cases globally are caused by P. vivax. The different Plasmodia are not uniformly distributed although there are areas of species overlap. The life cycle of all species of human malaria parasites is characterised by an exogenous sexual phase in which multiplication occurs in several species of Anopheles mosquitoes, and an endogenous asexual phase in the vertebrate host. The time span required for mature oocyst development in the salivary glands is quite variable (7-30 days), characteristic of each species and influenced by ambient temperature. The vector Anopheles includes 465 formally recognised species. Approximately 70 of these species have the capacity to transmit Plasmodium spp. to humans and 41 are considered as dominant vector capable of transmitting malaria. The intensity of transmission is dependent on the vectorial capacity and competence of local mosquitoes. An efficient system for malaria transmission needs strong interaction between humans, the ecosystem and infected vectors. Global warming induced by human activities has increased the risk of vector-borne diseases such as malaria. Recent decades have witnessed changes in the ecosystem and climate without precedent in human history although the emphasis in the role of temperature on the epidemiology of malaria has given way to predisposing conditions such as ecosystem changes, political instability and health policies that have reduced the funds for vector control, combined with the presence of migratory flows from endemic countries.

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