New analysis challenges results of previous research
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and other institutions conclude that the increase in the incidence of malaria in East Africa parallels warming trends over the last several decades. The new findings challenge the results of a study, "Climate change and resurgence of malaria in the East African highlands," which was previously published in the journal Nature. The original study, conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford, found "no significant changes" in long-term climate. The new analysis is published in the December 12, 2002, edition of Nature.
"Weather data is particularly sparse in East Africa, and the climate database used was originally created to pool information for analysis over large geographic areas. There is potential, therefore, for reaching spurious conclusions when using such climate data to study diseases at the local level," said Jonathan Patz, MD, MPH, lead author of the new analysis and assistant professor of environmental health sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He further added that, "Malaria is one of the worlds most climate-sensitive diseases, and the African Highlands is an area of key importance for climate-malaria risk studies."
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