Talking about what climate change causes with respect to malaria, recent research studies have a lot to say and this is the focus of this article titled “what climate change causes: the transmission of malaria”.
The spread of malaria is strongly affected by environmental events. Recently, scientists have characterized the disease as involving a dynamic interplay between humans, mosquitoes, the plasmodium parasite, and the environment.
Now, as the issue of climate change heats up, scientists and public health agencies are stressing the value of adopting policies to combat climate change in order to avert an uptick in multiple health issues, including the proliferation of infectious diseases such as malaria.
Data is emerging that supports the connection between the spread of malaria and climate change, and several scientists have proposed that the planet would undergo increased transmission of the disease without meaningful action taken towards climate change. Others say that malaria spread would not be hugely impacted by growing temperatures, but that other diseases borne by mosquitoes, such as Dengue fever, might be more worrisome. Meanwhile, other environmental developments such as deforestation are also projected to alter the distribution of mosquitos, and thus impact the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases. What climate change causes is obviously more than malaria!
We will address how environmental issues impact malaria transmission in this section.
Although malaria is preventable; it claims more than 400,000 lives per year.
What climate changes causes? More death!
According to recent estimates, there were approximately 229 million malaria infections worldwide in 2019 and approximately 409,000 deaths from the disease. According to the WHO the most vulnerable populations to malaria are infants under the age of five (who accounted for 67per cent of all malaria induced deaths in 2019) and those living in Africa (who accounted for 94 percent of all cases in the same year).
However, the potentially fatal illness is both preventable and curable. Vector management has been found to be an efficient method of preventing and limiting malaria spread, with treated nets treated and intermittent indoor spraying serving as the two primary methods.
While these methods of prevention are available and promoted in places where the disease is more common, research gathered over the last few decades indicates that environmental change is creating environments favorable to the spread of malaria, potentially canceling out the effect of preventative measures and placing more people at risk.
Climate change has an impact on malaria transmission.
Temperature, humidity, rainfall, and other climatic variables all have an impact on critical factors governing malaria transmission, such as the mosquito’s lifetime and the growth of malaria parasites in the insect.
NASA reports that since 2000, nineteen of the warmest years on earth have happened. Together, 2020 and 2016 were the warmest years on record dating all the way back to 1880. Global average temperatures have been increasing slowly and dramatically throughout the last century, with increased changes recorded after the 1950s, indicating that the trend is accelerating.
Scientists conclude that rising temperatures and the associated climatic improvements favor mosquito-borne diseases. The warmer environment is aiding in the geographical spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, as well as increasing the chance of transmission. In answering the question what climate change causes,we can boldly say it is increasing the incidece of malaria!
Increases in temperature, humidity, and rainfall (all of which are a result of climate change) seem to be contributing to the expansion of the mosquito population at higher altitudes. This expands the disease’s spatial distribution, enabling it to spread to previously uninhabitable areas.
Additionally, temperature fluctuations at lower elevations, where mosquitoes and malaria are still present, alter the development period of the parasite that allows the mosquito to transmit the disease, causing it to produce malaria more quickly and thereby rising transmission rates.
Climate change has a significant effect on the El Nio climate cycle, which affects global weather trends. Scientists have previously established a connection between cycle disruptions and the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and Rift Valley fever.
Additional rainfall caused by shifts in the El Nio cycle will create favorable breeding conditions in normally dry areas, causing the insect and thus the disease to spread to new regions.
On the other side, droughts brought about by changing weather conditions combined with elevated humidity can result in the proliferation of mosquito populations. Rivers may be turned into chains of ponds in this situation, providing the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Additionally, improvements in the El Nio cycle that result in areas heavily affected by malaria being drier will result in a rise in malaria cases due to the lack of heavy rainfall that washes away mosquito breeding grounds. Dry conditions correlated with El Nio, for example, have been attributed to a one-third rise in malaria cases.
Climate change must ultimately be tackled in order to avert a slew of public health issues. This involves the possibility of the transmission of vector-borne diseases such as malaria being accelerated. Climate change’s and other environmental trends’ effect on vector-borne disease is a major challenge that can be avoided with appropriate intervention.
Social variables may often be modified to mitigate the effects of rising global temperatures, as shown by the elimination of Europe’s endemic malaria in 1975 as a result of improved socioeconomic circumstances, irrigation and sanitation, the establishment of modern agricultural practices, and improved healthcare. Although socioeconomic reforms can help, they are more complex to accomplish in developed countries where the disease is more prevalent.
Although experts remain unsure of the extent to which climate change would affect malaria directly and how far it can be contained in other geographical areas, it is apparent that this is an issue that must be watched.
Meanwhile, malaria continues to be a very real problem, resulting in tens of thousands of preventable deaths per year. Malaria research and support would continue to focus on providing existing and increased care to the most susceptible populations and on monitoring how the disease’s spread evolves as a result of climate change, zoonotic changes (such as the malaria species that has evolved in monkeys), or antimalarial drug tolerance.