Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Early Warning System Provides Four-Month Forecast of Malaria Epidemics in Northwest India

04.03.2013
Sea surface temperatures in the tropical South Atlantic Ocean can be used to accurately forecast, by up to four months, malaria epidemics thousands of miles away in northwestern India, a University of Michigan theoretical ecologist and her colleagues have found.

Colder-than-normal July sea surface temperatures in the tropical South Atlantic are linked to both increased monsoon rainfall and malaria epidemics in the arid and semi-arid regions of northwest India, including the vast Thar desert, according to Mercedes Pascual and her colleagues, who summarize their findings in a paper to be published online March 3 in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Previous efforts to forecast malaria outbreaks in northwest India have focused largely on monsoon-season rainfall totals as a predictor of the availability of breeding sites for the Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit the disease. That approach provides about a month of lead time before outbreaks occur.

The new forecasting tool should improve public health in the region by increasing warning time, thereby informing decisions about treatment preparedness and other disease-prevention strategies, said Pascual, the Rosemary Grant Collegiate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Planning for indoor insecticide spraying, one widely used control measure, could benefit from the additional lead time, for example.

"The climate link we have uncovered can be used as an indicator of malaria risk," Pascual said. "On the practical side, we hope these findings can be used as part of an early warning system."

After being nearly eradicated in India, malaria re-emerged there in the 1970s. An estimated 9 million malaria cases occur in India annually.

Malaria in its epidemic form occurs primarily on the margins of the geographical distribution of the disease, in places like arid northwest India where environmental conditions are only episodically suitable for sustaining Anopheles mosquitoes.

Motivated by the desire for more accurate prediction of malaria risk at longer lead times, Pascual and her colleagues analyzed epidemiological records of malaria incidence in northwest India and used statistical and computer climate models to test potential links between sea surface temperatures, monsoon rains in northwest India, and malaria epidemics there.

They found that most malaria epidemics in northwest India, which peak in October or November, occur when rainfall in the preceding summer monsoon season equals or exceeds a rainfall threshold presumably required to support the growth of Anopheles mosquitoes.

The researchers looked for a correlation between global sea-surface temperatures and epidemic malaria in northwest India. They identified a broad region in the tropical South Atlantic, west of Africa, where cooler-than-normal sea-surface temperatures are significantly associated with increases in both monsoon rainfall and malaria incidence in northwest India.

July sea-surface temperatures in the tropical South Atlantic proved to be remarkably accurate at predicting malaria outbreaks in northwest India during the following fall. In a retrospective analysis of malaria epidemics in the region between 1985 and 2006, the researchers found that July sea surface temperatures correctly anticipated nine out of 11 epidemic years and 12 out of 15 non-epidemic years.

"For this region of India and for this window of time in recent decades, the tropical South Atlantic appears to play a dominant role on rainfall and, through rainfall, on malaria," Pascual said.

Malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite, which is transmitted via the bites of infected mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver and then infect red blood cells.

Pascual's co-authors on the Nature Climate Change paper are B.A. Cash of the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, X. Rodó of the Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats and the Institut Català de Ciències del Clima in Spain, J. Ballester of the Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats in Spain, M.J. Bouma of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, A. Baeza of the U-M Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and R. Dhiman of the National Institute of Malaria Research in New Delhi, India.

The work was supported by the National Institute of Malaria Research in New Delhi, U-M's Graham Sustainability Institute, and by grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation and NASA. The National Center for Atmospheric Research provided high-performance computing support.

Mercedes Pascual: www.lsa.umich.edu/eeb/directory/faculty/pascual

EDITORS: High-res photos available at www.ns.umich.edu/Releases/2013/Feb13/malaria.html

Jim Erickson | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>