Millions of people living at higher altitudes in the tropics will be at risk of malaria as a result of rising temperatures and climate change, according to an analysis of the disease over the past two decades in two mountainous regions in South America and Africa.
Scientists found that when temperatures increased, malaria affected people at higher altitudes than when temperatures were cooler. It is the first study on the ground to show how temperature changes can affect the risk of malaria in populations living 1,200 metres above sea level.
Although researchers have long debated whether malaria will move as a result of climate change, this is one of the first studies showing that the disease does migrate higher when temperatures rise, which threatens the many millions of people who live in historically malaria-free regions of the high-altitude tropics.
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