Study of temperature effects on malaria may have far-reaching implications

As the lead author on a paper detailing new methods to predict malaria outbreaks, GeoVISTA Researcher Justine Blanford is making news worldwide. According to one article, Blanford's work "has potentially far-reaching implications because it will improve scientistsā€˜ ability to map where malaria is likely to occur. Knowing this could help to improve malaria control and mitigation strategies in tropical and sub-tropical regions. This could save many lives as climate change develops."

The paper, published this week in Nature Scientific Reports and entitled "Implications of temperature variation for malaria parasite development across Africa," shows that using daily temperature variation to predict malaria parasite development is more accurate than using mean monthly temperatures alone.

The research team also includes several Penn State scientists: Simon Blanford, senior research associate in biology; Robert G. Crane, professor of geography and director of Penn State's Alliance for Education, Science, Engineering and Development in Africa; Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology; Krijn P. Paaijmans, post doctoral researcher; and Matthew Thomas, professor in ecological entomology in the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics; as well as Kathleen V. Schreiber, professor of geography at Millersville University of Pennsylvania.

Further reading:

Blanford, JI et al. (2013) Implications of temperature variation for malaria parasite development across Africa. Nature Scientific Reports.

New approach alters malaria maps by A'ndrea Elyse Messer

Making malaria easier to track by Alex Kirby

For more information, contact Krista Kahler at kck12@psu.edu