According to scientific journal PLoS ONE, new research discovered that incidents of malaria cases in the East African highlands have dropped dramatically. 10 years ago, the region experienced a surge in malaria incidents, which researchers associated with climate change.

Lead author Professor David Stern from the Crawford School of Economics and Government at The Australian National University and his team based at Oxford University and in Kenya, carried out a study to evaluate trends in mean temperature and malaria cases across the East African highlands.

Stern said that there has been considerable controversy on whether or not climate changes affected East Africa and if there was a possible association with the rise in malaria incidences.

According to his research published in 2002 in Nature, the region showed no statistically significant trend in temperatures, which led to a heated debate about what caused the region’s increase in malaria at the time.

The new research utilizes recently developed statistical tests to a quality controlled temperature series from Kericho in East Africa, which revealed a statistically significant trend when data from the last 15 years was included.

Stern said that the number of malaria cases admitted to the local hospital dropped significantly during the last ten years. Surveys in the area revealed declines in the prevalence of the malaria parasite, which reflects a global decline in the disease.

Stern concluded by saying:

“This research suggests that, while climate change is expected to have many serious impacts, other factors including medical interventions appear to be more important in determining the incidence of malaria.”

Written by Petra Rattue