Malaria is a vector-borne disease which is caused by the Plasmodium parasite that enters the body via a mosquito bite. However, not all mosquito species are capable of transmitting malaria. The disease is only transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito. When the mosquito bites an infected individual, it becomes infected by the Plasmodium parasites. The parasite enters the mosquitoes’ salivary glands where they develop. After that, they are transmitted to the next individual upon biting them, hence causing malaria.
Factors contributing to global warming
Global warming is natural phenomena whereby the temperature on the earth’s surface is increased due to the depletion of the ozone layer. Greenhouse gases such as carbon (IV) oxide, sulphur (IV) oxide and chlorofluorocarbons are responsible for the depletion. Several human activities emit these gases. First is the emission of CO2 and SO2 from industries and the combustion of fuel in vehicles (Nabi & Qader, 2009). Industrialized countries such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom have been identified as significant producers of CO2. Moreover, (Nabi & Qader, 2009) indicates that the level of CO2 pollution caused by a person in Australia is twice the average amount of CO2 pollution produced by another individual in other countries.
Second, carbon pollution is caused by the generation of electricity and the burning of coal which produces 73% and 13% of CO2 respectively. Therefore, the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere can be reduced by embracing the use of wind and solar energy. Thus, this will reduce global warming (Nabi & Qader, 2009).
Third, are the chlorofluorocarbons which are synthetic compounds. These compounds originate from industries and are used in various industrial applications, for example, in refrigerators. These compounds contribute to the widespread destruction of the ozone layer. Currently, the global production of chlorofluorocarbons is regulated through the existence of various international agreements (Nabi & Qader, 2009).
The fourth factor is deforestation. The function of plants in the carbon cycle is to absorb CO2 from the environment and consequently release oxygen back into the atmosphere. However, humans have cleared vegetation to set aside spaces for their activities such as urban development, infrastructure, or farming. This reduces the vegetation cover, hence the accumulation of C02 in the atmosphere. C02 is a greenhouse gas, which contributes to the greenhouse effect. Therefore, practising afforestation and reforestation farming techniques act as vital considerations in tackling issues with global warming (Nabi & Qader, 2009).
Last but not least, farming itself contributes to global warming. Animals such as livestock produce methane gas, a greenhouse gas, from their digestive systems. When livestock are kept in large numbers, the amount of methane produced increases and gradually leads to global warming. Additionally, nitrogenous fertilizers used when farming release nitrous oxide into the atmosphere (Nabi & Qader, 2009).
Over time, the gases mentioned above gradually build up in the atmosphere and deplete the ozone layer. Therefore, the earth’s surface is exposed to harmful ultraviolet rays, hence the greenhouse effect.
Global warming and the prevalence of malaria
Climate is a fundamental determinant of malaria distribution around the world. This is because it affects the life cycle of malarial parasites. Studies have indicated the presence of a relationship between global warming and malaria (Nabi & Qader, 2009). However, there lacks precise evidence that supports this viewpoint. This is because most studies only point toward a positive correlation between the two variables.
Global warming leads to an increase in temperature on the earth’s surface. Therefore, due to this high temperature, the icebergs will melt leading to the rise in water levels in the oceans. This will lead to flooding, especially in tropical regions. The increased temperature and presence of flooding provides a suitable environment essential for the growth and survival of mosquitoes. For instance, the presence of water pools during flooding provide good breeding sites for the mosquito larvae. Moreover, the optimum temperature required for the development of the Anopheles mosquitoes approximately ranges between 200C-300C (Nabi & Qader, 2009).
Studies have examined the relationship between various climatic patterns such as El Nino and Lanina, and the prevalence of malaria (Nabi & Qader, 2009). Literature suggests that fluctuations of these climatic patterns have intensified over the past years. The intensification of the fluctuations can be attributed to global warming. Lanina that leads to dry weather conditions is set to create below normal incidence of malaria while El Nino, weather conditions, that creates wet creates an above-average prevalence of malaria transmission (William, 2018). Research has also shown the upsurge of Malaria after El-Nino events.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Malaria. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/malaria/index.html
- Lam, P. (2017). Malaria: Symptoms, treatment, and prevention. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150670.php
- Nabi. S. A & Qader, S. (2009). Is Global Warming likely to cause an increased incidence of malaria? Libyan Journal of Medicine, 4(1), 18-22.
- William, B. (2018). Malaria and climate change. Retrieved from https://www.hippocraticpost.com/out-of-africa/malaria-and-climate-change/