Potential impact of global climate change on malaria risk

Environ Health Perspect. 1995 May;103(5):458-64. doi: 10.1289/ehp.95103458.


The biological activity and geographic distribution of the malarial parasite and its vector are sensitive to climatic influences, especially temperature and precipitation. We have incorporated General Circulation Model-based scenarios of anthropogenic global climate change in an integrated linked-system model for predicting changes in malaria epidemic potential in the next century. The concept of the disability-adjusted life years is included to arrive at a single measure of the effect of anthropogenic climate change on the health impact of malaria. Assessment of the potential impact of global climate change on the incidence of malaria suggests a widespread increase of risk due to expansion of the areas suitable for malaria transmission. This predicted increase is most pronounced at the borders of endemic malaria areas and at higher altitudes within malarial areas. The incidence of infection is sensitive to climate changes in areas of Southeast Asia, South America, and parts of Africa where the disease is less endemic; in these regions the numbers of years of healthy life lost may increase significantly. However, the simulated changes in malaria risk must be interpreted on the basis of local environmental conditions, the effects of socioeconomic developments, and malaria control programs or capabilities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Environmental Health
  • Greenhouse Effect*
  • Humans
  • Malaria / epidemiology
  • Malaria / etiology*
  • Malaria / transmission
  • Models, Biological
  • Plasmodium / growth & development
  • Risk Factors