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Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 21;6:27771. doi: 10.1038/srep27771.

Malaria transmission potential could be reduced with current and future climate change.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, 260 Veterinary Medicine, 501 D.W. Brookes Drive, Athens GA 30602, USA.
Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Department of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University, Merkle Lab, Orchard Road, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Several studies suggest the potential for climate change to increase malaria incidence in cooler, marginal transmission environments. However, the effect of increasing temperature in warmer regions where conditions currently support endemic transmission has received less attention. We investigate how increases in temperature from optimal conditions (27 °C to 30 °C and 33 °C) interact with realistic diurnal temperature ranges (DTR: ± 0 °C, 3 °C, and 4.5 °C) to affect the ability of key vector species from Africa and Asia (Anopheles gambiae and An. stephensi) to transmit the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. The effects of increasing temperature and DTR on parasite prevalence, parasite intensity, and mosquito mortality decreased overall vectorial capacity for both mosquito species. Increases of 3 °C from 27 °C reduced vectorial capacity by 51-89% depending on species and DTR, with increases in DTR alone potentially halving transmission. At 33 °C, transmission potential was further reduced for An. stephensi and blocked completely in An. gambiae. These results suggest that small shifts in temperature could play a substantial role in malaria transmission dynamics, yet few empirical or modeling studies consider such effects. They further suggest that rather than increase risk, current and future warming could reduce transmission potential in existing high transmission settings.

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