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There is no link between climate change and the growth of malaria in upland areas of East Africa, say researchers in this week's Nature.

Simon Hay of the University of Oxford, UK, and colleagues looked at climate data spanning 1901-95 for four regions in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. They found no significant trends in temperature, rainfall or the number of months when conditions were suitable for malaria transmission.

The researchers conclude that something other than global warming must have fuelled the rise of malaria in the past two decades, such as the growth of drug resistance, or the possibility that health care has not kept pace with population growth. Drawing simplistic links between global climate change and local disease patterns could lead to policy mistakes, they conclude.

Reference: Nature 415, 905 (2002)

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