Potential impact of global climate change on malaria risk

W. J.M. Martens, L. W. Niessen, J. Rotmans, T. H. Jetten, A. J. McMichael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

271 Scopus citations


The biological activity and geographic distribution of the malarial parasite and its vector are sensitive to the climate 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 health impact of malaria. Assessment of the potential impact of global climate change of 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 number of years of healthy life lost may increase significantly. However, the simulated changes in malaria risk must be interpreted on the basis of local environment conditions, the effect of socioeconomic developments, and malaria control programs or capabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-464
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change
  • Disability-adjusted life years
  • Integrated modeling approach
  • Malaria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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