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Upswing In Malaria Linked To Global Climate Change

For your info - P. Dines

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From: Rich Winkel, INTERNET:rich%pencil@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU
To: Patricia Dines, 73652,1202
Date: Thu, Apr 17, 1997, 4:57 AM
Subject: Upswing In Malaria Linked To Global Climate Change

/** headlines: 156.0 **/
** Topic: Upswing In Malaria Linked To Global Climate Change **
** Written  9:41 PM  Apr 14, 1997 by econet in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 7:12 AM  Apr 11, 1997 by tomgray@igc.org in energy.news */
/* ---------- "--Malaria Makes Comeback" ---------- */


        Once believed to be near extinction, malaria is making a
comeback around the world, and one of the factors in its
resurgence may be global climate change resulting from the
combustion of fossil fuels, according to the New York Times.

        In a news report January 8, Times reporter Nicholas
Kristof wrote, "Most alarming, malaria, far from coming under
control, is becoming resistant to medications and is expanding
into new areas and killing many more people than it did a few
decades ago. . . . [T]he World Health Organization recently
declared that 'public health enemy No. 1' is the mosquito."

        Dengue hemorrhagic fever, another mosquito-borne disease,
has also been expanding in recent years.  Noted Kristof, "Until
1970, only nine countries had experienced epidemics of dengue . .
 . fever, a mosquito-borne disease for which there is no cure or
vaccine . . . Since then, 29 more countries have experienced
outbreaks, and a milder form of the disease called dengue fever
has struck people in Texas.

        "Some entomologists worry that global warming may expand
the habitat of the anopheles mosquito [which carries the
diseases].  The World Health Organization has warned that a
result may be anopheles mosquitoes living in places like the
southern United States and southern Europe, and an extra 80
million cases of malaria annually by the end of the next century
[compared to a current estimated level of 300 million to 500
million cases each year]."

        The climate connection was underscored January 13 in a
letter to the Times from Dr. Paul Epstein, associate director of
the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard
Medical School.  Said Epstein, "As co- author of the World Health
Organization report discussed in your article, I offer several
recent findings.

        "Consistent with [computer] model projections that global
warming could hasten the geographic spread of malaria and dengue
fever, these devastating diseases are now occurring at high
altitudes in Latin America, central Africa, and Asia.  Cerebral
malaria has occurred in Nairobi, Kenya, while dengue fever is
found in the mountains around San Jose, Costa Rica.

        "Moreover, highland malaria and dengue fever are occurring
in the context of upward migration of plants on many continents
and summit glacial retreat in Latin America, Europe, central
Africa, and Asia.  A recent study in the journal Nature confirmed
that the freezing levels in the mountains have indeed shifted
upward about 500 feet since 1970, representing a warming of close
to 2 degrees Fahrenheit."

        Concluded Epstein, "We may be vastly underestimating the
social and economic damages associated with epidemics and extreme
weather events as well as the potential benefits to society as a
whole of changing our environmental and energy policies."

** End of text from cdp:headlines **

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