Global epidemiology of malaria and plague; Do rising global temperatures really matter
Friday Seminar by Menno Bouma.
The sensitivity of malaria and plague to interanual changes of weather would follow directly from the climate sensitivity of their vector hosts. Temperature is likely to play a pivotal role.Where the vector insect’s niche may be affected by a combination of temperature, rainfall and humidity, human behaviour is likely to be affected by the first 2 factors and the pathogen’s sensitivity mostly by temperature alone. The multitude of potential climate effects on the dynamics of these diseases and their potential interactions appear to make it very difficult to tease out weather sensitivities in a multi-host system. This apart from the many other possible causes, e.g. political and socio-economical which fill the just-so stories in the history of human epidemics. However, interannual variability of plague and malaria on a very large spatial scale suggest that climate suceptibility could be surprisingly easy to identify, providing hints of drivers and sensitivities on smaller spatial scales. Some global results of both diseases will be discussed, including the possibilities and limitations to use these apparent interannual determinants to predict changes in the epidemiology of plague and malaria resulting from increasing global temperatures.