Meteorologic influences on Plasmodium falciparum malaria in the Highland Tea Estates of Kericho, Western Kenya
Shanks GD., Hay SI., Stern DI., Biomndo K., Snow RW.
Recent epidemics of Plasmodium falciparum malaria have been observed in high-altitude areas of East Africa. Increased malaria incidence in these areas of unstable malaria transmission has been attributed to a variety of changes including global warming. To determine whether the reemergence of malaria in western Kenya could be attributed to changes in meteorologic conditions, we tested for trends in a continuous 30-year monthly malaria incidence dataset (1966-1995) obtained from complete hospital registers at a Kenyan tea plantation. Contemporary monthly meteorologic data (1966-1995) that originated from the tea estate meteorologic station and from global climatology records were also tested for trends. We found that total hospital admissions (malaria and nonmalaria) remained unchanged while malaria admissions increased significantly during the period. We also found that all meteorologic variables showed no trends for significance, even when combined into a monthly suitability index for malaria transmission. We conclude that climate changes have not caused the highland malaria resurgence in western Kenya.