Malaria on its Way

Malaria-MosquitoA new study predicts malaria epidemics in arid northwest India four months in advance, to help authorities prepare for the proper precautions. The seasonal malaria outbreaks in the region are known to be driven by higher rainfall, which allows the mosquitoes that transmit the disease to breed, and can currently be forecast in advance.

But a study published in Nature Climate Change has found a strong association between malaria outbreaks in the desert fringe of northwest India and sea surface temperatures in the tropical South Atlantic Ocean. Based on the correlation, the researchers have developed a mathematical model to predict malaria in states such as Gujarat and Rajasthan four months in advance. One main motivation to look at the oceans and not at regional rainfall itself is to take advantage of a longer lead time.

They showed that rises in malaria incidence in northwest India in October and November tended to be preceded by lower sea surface temperatures in the tropical South Atlantic in June and July. The variation in the size of malaria epidemics across different years showed an association with sea surface temperature in a somewhat unexpected part of the oceans. The reason for this is that the tropical South Atlantic is linked to the Indian Ocean basin and northwest India in particular, by air circulation.

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Posted by on March 7, 2013. Filed under HEALTH,Print. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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