Climate change and future populations at risk of malaria

P. Martens*, R.S. Kovats, S. Nijhof, P. de Vries, M. Livermore, D.J. Bradley, J. Cox, A.J. McMichael

*Corresponding author for this work

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Global estimates of the potential impact of climate change on malaria transmission were calculated based on future climate scenarios produced by the HadCM2 and the more recent HadCM3 global climate models developed by the UK Hadley Centre. This assessment uses an improved version of the MIASMA malaria model, which incorporates knowledge about the current distributions and characteristics of the main mosquito species of malaria. The greatest proportional changes in potential transmission are forecast to occur in temperate zones, in areas where vectors are present but it is currently too cold for transmission. Within the current vector distribution limits, only a limited expansion of areas suitable for malaria transmission is forecast, such areas include: central Asia, North America and northern Europe. On a global level, the numbers of additional people at risk of malaria in 2080 due to climate change is estimated to be 300 and 150 million for P. falciparum and P. vivax types of malaria, respectively, under the HadCM3 climate change scenario. Under the HadCM2 ensemble projections, estimates of additional people at risk in 2080 range from 260 to 320 million for P. falciparum and from 100 to 200 million for P. vivax. Climate change will have an important impact on the length of the transmission season in many areas, and this has implications for the burden of disease. Possible decreases in rainfall indicate some areas that currently experience year-round transmission may experience only seasonal transmission in the future. Estimates of future populations at risk of malaria differ significantly between regions and between climate scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S89-S107
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999


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