Study: Global warming can cause malaria, dengue to billions

According to a study published in Lancet Planetary Health, a 3.7 degrees Celsius rise in temperatures from pre-industrial level by 2100 might lead to fatal outbreaks of malaria and dengue.

Key Points

  • Global warming has always increased spectre of deluge and drought. But now it adds diseases to it.
  • Researchers used an integrated multi-model multi-scenario framework and measured the impact of climate change in length of transmission season.
  • They also measured global population at risk of malaria and dengue at different altitudes and population densities for the period 1951-99.

Key Findings of the study

  • As per study, at that level of warming, about 4.7 billion more people may be at risk from deadly diseases as compared to that during 1970-99.
  • Population at risk of malaria and dengue will be higher in densely populated urban areas like African region, South-East Asia region and region of Americas
  • 4 billion additional people will be affected by malaria and dengue in urban areas of Africa and southeast Asia.
  • Transmission season of both diseases is also going to increase due to climate change. Recent trends show that, winters are becoming warmer and summers are arriving earlier. Hence, vectors such as mosquitoes are getting more time to breed. This scenario will get worse with increasing temperature.
  • Risk of transmission of malaria will raise by 1.6 additional months in Africa’s tropical highlands, eastern Mediterranean and Americas.
  • Risk of dengue transmission will increase in lowland areas of western Pacific and eastern Mediterranean by four additional months.

Way forward

Study suggests that, policy makers should come up with appropriate strategies to build resilience against major mosquito-borne diseases in warmer and more urbanised world.

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