Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Malaria early-warning system shows promise in tackling epidemics

02.02.2006


Climate forecasting systems help predict malaria risk in Africa

The Earth Institute at Columbia University—Malaria is one of the world’s biggest killers, taking the lives of more than 1 million people every year, as well as infecting a staggering 500 million worldwide. Although endemic in several regions of the world, malaria is most acute in Africa, home to an estimated 90 percent of all cases. Early warning systems can assist health programs and services in preventing and controlling the disease in epidemic-prone areas. A recent study shows that climate predictions can help provide health professionals and program managers with warnings of epidemics many months in advance. The study appears in the February 2 issue of Nature.

Climate variability has an important effect on malaria in epidemic-prone areas in Africa, where temperatures and rainfall drive both mosquito and parasite dynamics. In semi-arid Botswana, the National Malaria Control Programme has developed an early-warning system based on population vulnerability, rainfall, and health surveillance to predict and detect unusual changes in the seasonal pattern of disease. The risk of an epidemic in Botswana increases dramatically shortly after a season of good rainfall. Systems developed by the DEMETER project (http://www.ecmwf.int/research/demeter/) make forecasts of seasonal rainfall for much of southern Africa more reliable. An important influence on rainfall in this region is the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) which impacts the occurrence of epidemic and non-epidemic years.



By using a number of climate models the researchers were able to consider the uncertainties in the predictions which could then be expressed reliably as probabilities. Overall, the researchers’ findings show that these probabilistic climate forecasts can be combined and used effectively in malaria forecasting. According to the study, these forecasts can provide health service managers with warnings of changes in epidemic risk five months before the peak malaria season and four months earlier than predictions based on actual rainfall. Following Botswana’s lead, integrated early warning systems are now being developed in conjunction with epidemic prevention and response planning activities, in a number of Southern African countries. "What we have demonstrated in this project, which makes it unique, is the speed at which cutting-edge climate research can be translated into operational activity in Africa," said Madeleine Thomson, research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, part of The Earth Institute at Columbia University. "This happened because research activities were linked directly to the operational needs and policy objectives of both the climate and health institutions in the region."

"In Africa malaria causes over a million deaths each year—mostly in young children. In epidemic prone regions it is a much more indiscriminate cause of death,” said Dr Charles Delacollette, WHO Global Malaria Programme. “This study demonstrates that judicious use of climate information is an important factor in reducing the impact of this devastating disease."

The study involved researchers at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, part of The Earth Institute at Columbia University; the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the National Malaria Control Programme in Botswana, and the University of Liverpool. For a copy of the paper or for further information, please contact Ruth Francis, Senior Press Officer at Nature, at +44-20-7843-4562 or r.francis@nature.com.

Clare Oh | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.columbia.edu
http://iri.columbia.edu
http://www.ecmwf.int/research/demeter/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht At last, butterflies get a bigger, better evolutionary tree
16.02.2018 | Florida Museum of Natural History

nachricht New treatment strategies for chronic kidney disease from the animal kingdom
16.02.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>