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The destruction of the Amazon’s tropical rainforest is encouraging the spread of malaria-carrying mosquitoes, according to a new study.

A team of researchers led by Jonathan Patz of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, collected 15,000 mosquitoes in northeast Peru and counted how many were Anopheles darlingi — the local species that transmits malaria.

Using satellite images, they checked the figures against levels of deforestation, and found that every 1 per cent increase in deforestation boosts the number of A. darlingi by 8 per cent. The researchers hope their findings will help inform policymakers about how changing ecosystems can affect human health.

Link to full Nature Science Update news story

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