Anorak News | Infectious Tim Flannery hears Abigail Borah’s mosquito cry

Infectious Tim Flannery hears Abigail Borah’s mosquito cry

by | 23rd, December 2011

GLOBAL warming news is pretty much one long scare story. The sceptics ma ybe less doubting if the warmists weren’t so shrill and knowing. Get a load of Abigail Borah, a victim of nominative determinism, channelling the winds of change through her mouth whistle. The latest scare story is not that Miss Borah is going to read the news, rather that Tim Flannery, Australia’s Chief Commissioner, sees disease in the hills you’re heading for:

As he  foresees on page 117 of his book The Weather Makers:

There is, surprisingly, one group of species that will benefit enormously from this aspect of climate change. These are the parasites that cause the four strains of malaria. As rainfall increases, the mosquitoes that carry the parasite will spread, the malarial season will lengthen, and the disease will proliferate. From Mexico City to Papua New Guinea’s Mt. Hagen, the mountain valleys of the world support human populations in high densities. And they are healthy, glorious places in which disease, where population density is not too great, is rare. Just below these communities — in the case of New Guinea at around 4,500 feet — are great forests where no one lives. This is because of malaria, which is so prevalent in parts of the tropics that it controls human populations. In the new future, global warming will grant access to the malarial parasite and its vector the Anopheles mosquito to those high mountain valleys, and there they will find tens of thousands of people without any resistance to the disease.

Only, he might be wrong:

A common assumption is that rising global temperatures will increase the spread of malaria — the deadly mosquito-borne disease that affects millions of people worldwide. But a study out today in Biology Letters finds that warmer temperatures seem to slow transmission of malaria-causing parasites, by reducing their infectiousness.

As temperature rises, parasites do develop faster, but fewer of them become infectious.

“It is a trade-off between parasite development and parasite survival,” says Krijn Paaijmans, an entomologist and study author. “And if you don’t factor this in I think you come to the wrong conclusions.”

Such are the facts.

Spotter: Tim Blair


Posted: 23rd, December 2011 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink