British researchers say computer modeling can predict which areas of India are most at risk of malaria outbreaks following changes in monsoon rainfall.
Heavy rainfall events in India have increased over the past 50 years, but research has tended to focus on the impact this has on agriculture rather than the vector-borne diseases such as malaria, researchers at the University of Liverpool said.
Working with computer modeling colleagues in India, Liverpool scientists are developing technology to help decision makers and planners target areas that are prone to large-scale climate variability and malaria epidemics, the university said Monday.
The model could bring early intervention to prevent the spread of malaria at key points in the seasonal monsoon cycle, the researchers said.
"We already know that an anomalous season of heavy rainfall, when heat and humidity are high, allows insects such as mosquitoes to thrive and spread infection to humans," Liverpool scientist Andy Morse said.
"In order to prepare health services and prevent epidemics we must have a way of predicting when these events are likely to occur in areas that are not accustomed to annual outbreaks of malaria."
"Liverpool has developed human and animal disease models that can be integrated into seasonal forecasting systems to give a picture of what the climate impacts on disease risk will be like in four to six months time."
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