What Climate Change Might Mean for Malaria in Africa
Malaria-carrying mosquitoes will, and are already moving to new habitats as the earth warms up due to climate change. They are expected to breed faster and bite more often. As a result, malaria cases may go up, impacting elimination efforts, infectious disease experts warn, according to Adele Baleta writing for spotlight.
Sub-Saharan Africa is currently the region most affected by malaria. While South Africa has an excellent record of malaria control compared to other countries in the region and close to malaria elimination in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, climate change could frustrate progress, according to Professor Rajendra Maharaj, Director of the Malaria Research Unit at the South African Medical Research Council. Meanwhile the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 247 million cases of malaria globally, 619 000 of which were fatal. Africa is home to 95% of these cases and 96% of the deaths.
Climate change has also been cited as a primary cause in rising cholera cases across Africa with the WHO citing "extreme climatic events" as cause for people to flee their homes.
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A feeding female Anopheles stephensi mosquito. A. stephensi is a known vector for the parasitic disease malaria (file photo).