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Temperature and malaria trends in highland East Africa

by David I. Stern, Peter W. Gething, Caroline W. Kabaria, William H. Temperley, Abdisalan M. Noor, Emelda A. Okiro, G. Dennis Shanks, Robert W. Snow, Simon I. Hay show all authors
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There has been considerable debate on the existence of trends in climate in the highlands of East Africa and hypotheses about their potential effect on the trends in malaria in the region. We apply a new robust trend test to mean temperature time series data from three editions of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit database (CRU TS) for several relevant locations. We find significant trends in the data extracted from newer editions of the database but not in the older version for periods ending in 1996. The trends in the newer data are even more significant when post-1996 data are added to the samples. We also test for trends in the data from the Kericho meteorological station prepared by Omumbo et al. We find no significant trend in the 1979-1995 period but a highly significant trend in the full 1979-2009 sample. However, although the malaria cases observed at Kericho, Kenya rose during a period of resurgent epidemics (1994-2002) they have since returned to a low level. A large assembly of parasite rate surveys from the region, stratified by altitude, show that this decrease in malaria prevalence is not limited to Kericho.

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