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  • Brief Communication
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Climate change (Communication arising)

Regional warming and malaria resurgence


Disease outbreaks are known to be often influenced by local weather, but how changes in disease trends might be affected by long-term global warming is more difficult to establish. In a study of malaria in the African highlands, Hay et al.1 found no significant change in long-term climate at four locations where malaria incidence has been increasing since 1976. We contend, however, that their conclusions are likely to be flawed by their inappropriate use of a global climate data set. Moreover, the absence of a historical climate signal allows no inference to be drawn about the impact of future climate change on malaria in the region.

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Figure 1: Annual mean temperature for Nairobi airport (WMO 63741, 1.3° S, 36.9° E, 1,624 m) and Kericho (0.37° S, 35.35° E, 2,031m) are plotted as bars to show deviations from the averages for 1961–90 (19.0 °C) and 1988–97 (17.4 °C), respectively.

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Correspondence to Jonathan A. Patz.

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Patz, J., Hulme, M., Rosenzweig, C. et al. Regional warming and malaria resurgence. Nature 420, 627–628 (2002).

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