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Vector borne disease

Infectious and vector-borne disease
Climate is already a very important determinant of the distribution of infectious diseases. For example mosquitoes are primarily found in tropical countries because they prefer warmer and more humid climate. Kenya has made progressed in fighting malaria; the last epidemic happened a decade ago. There are still one thousand new cases of malaria each month but the disease is usually treatable. However climate change is exacerbating the problem. Malaria is spreading to Kenya’s highlands. Here health workers offer advice on preventative drugs. Even at elevations of more than 2000 metres, the nights have grown warm enough for mosquitoes to breed freely. Mosquito nets have become a must.
Weather stations are being set up and meteorologists are using modern technology to predict whether or not mosquitoes will be likely to multiply. Solomon Nzioka, from the World Health Organization explains how it works.
What we are trying to come up is a mathematical formula, which can take care of all these variations, including if there was a mass intervention. There’s a factor that would be factored in and still be able to say how much malaria is still is expected.

Read this text before watching the video above.

Climate change is expected to alter and expand the distribution of certain vector-borne diseases. Diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, tick-borne encephalitis, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), Lyme disease and Japanese encephalitis – are considered ‘climate-sensitive’ because changing temperatures and rainfall patterns can create new suitable habitats for the insects which spread them. In the case of malaria, control interventions and socioeconomic development appear to have played a more important role than climate change thus far, but this could change in future. For example, dengue has become closely associated with climate change over the past five decades, having increased 30-fold in this period.

Watch this video clip to understand how health professionals are responding to the increased range malaria in Kenya.

Then move on to the discussion.

For more information and further reading, see the ‘See Also’ section below.

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