Malaria cases spread to higher elevations
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/7/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Malaria cases are increasing in higher elevations according to an article published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science's journal Science.
A malaria infected child receiving treatment.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Inhabitants in the highlands of Africa and South America are at an increased risk from the mosquito spread disease in hotter seasons.
Usually people living in higher altitudes are safe from this disease as both the insect carriers and the parasite itself have difficulty surviving in the cooler temperatures. However, in the regions subjected to the study, Columbia and Ethiopia, during years with warmer average weather, scientists found an increase in malaria cases at higher elevations where they have not been found before.
Scientists find this trend alarming as many of the people in these regions may be particularly vulnerable to the disease because of their geographic isolation from it. With even slight temperature increases over the years, scientists worry that some of these previously malaria free areas could experience million of additional cases.
According to the BBC, Professor Mercedes Pascual, from the University of Michigan, said: "The impact in terms of increasing the risk of exposure to disease is very large. The risk of the disease decreases with altitude and this is why historically people have settled in these higher regions."
The World Health Organization's latest research shows that there were about 207 million cases of malaria in 2010, and an estimated 660,000 deaths. Of these deaths, about 90 percent occurred in Africa, primarily amongst children under five years of age.
WHO also reports that malaria cases have dropped nearly 26 percent between 2000-2010, primarily as countries invest and fund their own malaria reduction programs.
Currently the WHO suggest that malaria prevention and treatment funding is not currently at target goals. WHO suggest that US $5.1 billion is needed every year between 2011 and 2020 to achieve universal access to malaria interventions, but in in 2011, only US$ 2.3 billion was spent on these programs.
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