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Climate change brings mosquitos, malaria to higher elevations

According to BBC News on Thursday, researchers have indicated that global warming may affect the number of malaria cases in countries like Africa and South America. The study published in the journal Science, says that as temperatures rise, mosquitos will reach new elevations and put new populations at risk.

As temperatures rise, so do mosquitos.
Getty Images/ Justin Sullivan

Scientists followed a study that compared the number of malaria cases in Ethiopia and Colombia from the 1990s until 2005 and saw that during the warmer years, the number of malaria cases rose, but fell back down when the temperatures cooled.

Researchers believe that the rise in cases is caused by malaria infecting people who live in highland areas who have no immunity to the disease and also have no protection against the insects that carry the parasite. Because of their lack of protection and overall lack of exposure to malaria, these people will likely to have more severe cases of malaria.

The team that worked on the study believes that preventive efforts should be taken at the edge of where the unexposed population lives as compared to at lower altitudes. They say that because it will be easier to control at an elevation where the disease isn’t already established.

BBC notes that in places like Ethiopia, where half the population lives above where mosquitoes usually exist, this trend could be very dangerous.

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