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The Tale Of Two Malaria Studies

June 15, 2017

By Paul Homewood





In 2000, four researchers led by G D Shanks carried out a detailed study into the apparent rise in malaria admissions at the hospital which Brooke Bond run at their tea estates in Kenya.

This was their Abstract:


The changing epidemiology of clinical malaria since 1965 among hospitalized patients was studied at a group of tea estates in the western highlands of Kenya. These data indicate recent dramatic increases in the numbers of malaria admissions (6·5 to 32·5% of all admissions), case fatality (1·3 to 6%) and patients originating from low-risk, highland areas (34 to 59%). Climate change, environmental management, population migration, and breakdown in health service provision seem unlikely explanations for this changing disease pattern. The coincident arrival of chloroquine resistance during the late 1980s in the sub-region suggests that drug resistance is a key factor in the current pattern and burden of malaria among this highland population.


In particular, when they looked at climate data, they found:

Climate data were available between 1965 and 1997 as mean monthly ambient temperature (°C) and monthly rainfall totals (mm) recorded at the centre of the estates by the Tea Research Foundation (Ng’etich, 1997). There has been no significant change in the mean annual monthly mean temperature (B = 0·009 (°C/year), r2 = 0·04, P = 0·14, not significant) or mean annual monthly total rainfall (B = −0·232 (mm/year), r2 = −0·03, P = 0·642, not significant) during the period 1965–97. While these analyses do not exclude complex, combined temperature and rainfall changes it seems plausible to assume that factors other than climate change would have led to the precipitous rise in malaria warranting inpatient care during the 1990s at the Kericho tea estates.



But as we know, the climate industry is not happy with results like this, so another new study was funded, and published by Alonso et al in 2010:


Climate change impacts on malaria are typically assessed with scenarios for the long-term future. Here we focus instead on the recent past (1970-2003) to address whether warmer temperatures have already increased the incidence of malaria in a highland region of East Africa. Our analyses rely on a new coupled mosquito-human model of malaria, which we use to compare projected disease levels with and without the observed temperature trend. Predicted malaria cases exhibit a highly nonlinear response to warming, with a significant increase from the 1970s to the 1990s, although typical epidemic sizes are below those observed. These findings suggest that climate change has already played an important role in the exacerbation of malaria in this region. As the observed changes in malaria are even larger than those predicted by our model, other factors previously suggested to explain all of the increase in malaria may be enhancing the impact of climate change.


The difference between the two papers is stark. The Shanks study starts with an open mind and considers the data objectively.

The Alonso one starts with the objective of proving that climate change is to blame, and then uses computer models to confirm their bias.

  1. NeilC permalink
    June 15, 2017 10:58 am

    The first paper is proper science, the second paper is utter bo!!ocks

  2. Gerry, England permalink
    June 15, 2017 12:38 pm

    One paper is science and the other is science fiction.

  3. Broadlands permalink
    June 15, 2017 12:41 pm

    Click to access mwr-062-08-0269.pdf

    By R. L. FROST [Weather Bureau office, Fairbanks, Alaska, July 1934]

    “In addition to the discomfort caused by the heat, one must endure the hoards of vicious mosquitoes and the troublesonie gnats. Some idea of the Arctic mosquitoes may be gained from the following account of C. F. Hall:

    Among the numerous visitors that greeted us on our arrival, I was astonished to find myriads of miisquitoes. Little did we expect so warm a reception in the Arctic regions. Talk about musquitoes in the “States” as being numerous and troublesome! Why, no man who has not visited the Arctic shores in the months of July and August can have a good idea of these liiiputian elephants. In the “States” the very hum of a musquito is enough to set any one upon his guard. How many a poor soul there has been kept in a state of torment all night by the presence of only two or three musquitoes! But here, in the North, it is a common, every- hour affair to have thousands at one time around you, some buzzing, some drawing the very life blood from face, hands, arms, and legs, until one is driven to a state approaching madness. Even the clothing worn in the ‘‘States ” is no protection here against the huge probosis with which each lady musquito is armed.
    It can truthfully be stated that the mosquitoes are just as numerous now as they were 74 years ago when Hall first journeyed to the Arctic regions.

    • dave permalink
      June 15, 2017 1:14 pm

      I was once told with a dead-pan expression a tale by a Northern Saskatchwan concerning a summer barbacue. He had a pound steak on the fire and was astonished to see it being lifted away by two mosquitoes. He was even more astonished to hear one say to the other, “Quick, lets get it away before the big ones come!”

      Malaria control is a HUGE 21st Century success – especially as regards mortality. The World Health Organisation has the following statistics for Kenya.

      Deaths in year 2002 47,697
      Deaths in year 2014 472

      They also have the following:

      CONFIRMED Cases in 2002 20,049
      CONFIRMED cases in 2014 2,808,931

      Apparently the number of cases has gone up a hundred-fold while the number of deaths has dropped a hundred-fold. What on earth is going on? The answer is simple. Kenya never HAD a malaria program until recently and so there were no centers to officially count and CONFIRM the disease.

      Control of malaria happens when POVERTY IS REDUCED. Again, according to the WHO, individual income per head in constant $ has risen in Kenya from $1,460 to $2,180 in this period – despite the population increasing rapidly.

      The biggest factor is sleeping under nets impregnated with insecticide. This is now up to 60% of the population in most of Tropical Africa.

      Mosquito nets – does it not seem a more reasonable and direct approach than desperately scrubbing CO2 out of the world’s air?

      • Tom O permalink
        June 15, 2017 2:50 pm

        But if you take the CO2 out of the air, the plants die that feed the animals. Thus the animals die that feed on the plants. And since Mosquitos feed on animals, they, too, will die out. See? Perfectly sensible way to control the Mosquito population! You just have to turn sideways, squint a little, tip your head slightly to the left while balancing on the fingers of your right hand to see it, that’s all.

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        June 15, 2017 2:56 pm

        I was going to make the same points, was at some Kenyan tea factories last year and the malaria situation is certainly improving as the population wealth increases. The poorest people used to take no protective measures and when hit by serious forms of malaria would drink alcohol, as they could not afford quinine, then die.

      • David Chesney permalink
        June 15, 2017 6:12 pm

        What are the relative population sizes for the two years being compared?

      • dave permalink
        June 15, 2017 8:02 pm

        “…population sizes…”

        33 million in 2002 and 45 million in 2014.

        Essentially, a heedless dash into the future.

      • dave permalink
        June 16, 2017 11:01 am

        P. Falciparum is the killer strain – and it can be cured, provided drugs are started within 24 hours of temperature increase. Another important advance in malaria control is the administration, in one dose, of a drug which knocks out of the body ALL residual infection. This not only eliminates relapsing fever but stops transmission to the mosquito, and breaks the reinfection cycle.

  4. gger permalink
    June 15, 2017 2:32 pm

    When did they stop using DDT?

    • Robert Fairless permalink
      June 17, 2017 9:51 am

      The EPA banned the world-wide use of DDT in 1972. After halting its use many South American countries suffered more than 90 percent increases in malarial rates whilst conversely Ecuador used DDT again and enjoyed a 61 percent reduction in malaria.

  5. Henning Nielsen permalink
    June 15, 2017 3:34 pm

    This site had a very good article about malaria some time ago:

  6. Robert Fairless permalink
    June 15, 2017 3:42 pm

    Anyone interested in mosquitos and the millions of people they kill every year in the spread of malaria and other deceases would find interest in a major fraud and serious act of malfeasance perpetrated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    The person responsible for millions of deaths world-wide is EPA Administrator William Ruckelhaus who in 1972 imposed a world-wide ban on the use of DDT. He did so on the false and fraudulent and defective so-called scientific studies carried out by unqualified persons motivated by politics and political correctness. In other words, a fraudulent scam and a folly of immense proportions.
    I commend you to an article by J. Gordon Edwards, Ph.D published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 9 Number 3 Fall 2004.
    One’s conscious is not big enough to appreciate the immensity of suffering, hardship and death which results from a decision made by a foolish incompetent bureaucrat and of course, no government wishes to accept any responsibility for its part in such a folly.

    • gallopingcamel permalink
      June 15, 2017 4:49 pm

      Don’t forget Rachel Carson and her “Silent Spring”.

      • Robert Fairless permalink
        June 15, 2017 5:54 pm

        Carson’s book was full if untruths and inaccuracies which many people seem to accept in preference to accurate scientific evidence. Its seems its malign influence still exists to deceive and corrupt.

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        June 16, 2017 1:16 pm

        The unwitting founder of the Green “anti-kemikul” movement.

        As I have said elsewhere today in a different context, I do not want to be ruled by fanatics — even those I fundamentally agree with! The indiscriminate use of any pesticide or herbicide is to be deplored but they have their uses in the proper place.

        When I was an allotment holder I asked a colleague who had a chemistry degree and whose plot was organic what would be the best way to clear the ground if I wanted to go the same route. His answer was unequivocal. “Unless you want to spend the rest if your life battling mares tails and couch grass, Round-Up. After that of course …” (A practical man, like most “hard” scientists.)

        I asked him how he reconciled one with other and his answer was pretty much what I said above. Horses for courses. Round-Up, properly used, is reliable, effective and safe. The only reason the greenies don’t like it, he said, was because it was developed by Monsanto. One of their numerous blind spots, he reckoned!

  7. RAH permalink
    June 16, 2017 12:43 pm

    Through out our history Malaria alone has killed more humans than anything else, including major wars and major Pandemics of other diseases.

    If what has been spent on mythical human caused climate change had been spent on eradication of the vector and prevention and treatment of Malaria and other mosquito borne diseases such as dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever,[1] filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis and Zika fever mortality would be a tiny fraction of the 1 million that currently die from those diseases annually.

    One really doesn’t get the impact unless they have seen it with their own eyes. We two SF medics as part of a single team MTT (Mobile Training Team) helped by an Army Physician Assistant on the staff of the US Embassy in Liberia had mothers bringing their mud coated infants and young children up to us. When the fever spiked they would take them to the local Shaman and rolling them in mud was one of their proscribed “treatments”. Made sense really since the cooling effect was prolonged by mud as compared to just using water. We treated malaria patients of all ages in our little clinic and some older ones that were terminal with black water fever.

  8. tom0mason permalink
    June 16, 2017 9:21 pm

    Also of interest here may be this —
    From Shakespeare to Defoe: Malaria in England in the Little Ice Age available at


    In 1975, the World Health Organization declared that Europe was free of malaria. The last indigenous case in England had been in the 1950s and in Bruegel’s Holland in 1961. Results were equally spectacular on other continents. By 1977, 83% of the world’s population was living in regions from which malaria had been eradicated or control activities were in progress. The only areas in which the control effort was limited were those of high endemic stability, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.

    However, this momentum could not be sustained, and the goal of worldwide eradication was abandoned. Today, the disease is again common in many parts of Central America, the northern half of South America, much of tropical and subtropical Asia, some Mediterranean countries and many of the republics once part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This rapid recrudescence has been attributed to population increase, forest clearance, irrigation and other agricultural activities, ecologic change, movement of people, urbanization, deterioration of public health services, resistance to insecticides and antimalarial drugs, deterioration of vector control operations, and disruptions from war, civil strife, and natural disasters. Claims that malaria resurgence is due to climate change ignore these realities and disregard history. For example, the many statements that recent climate change has caused malaria to ascend to new altitudes (10,31,32) are contradicted by records of its distribution in 1880 to 1945 (33-35).

    With the return of malaria, there has been an exponential rise in international travel. Tens of thousands of cases are imported into Europe and North America each year. As was anticipated 30 years ago (36), a few of these cases give rise to autochthonous transmission by indigenous mosquitoes.

    In much of Western Europe, the likelihood that malaria will become reestablished is probably small (37). However, in countries (e.g., in the Balkans) where malaria control has ceased but the probability of transmission remains high, reintroduction could threaten the public health. Indigenous transmission associated with imported cases has recently been reported in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Italy, and Corsica, and the malaria-free status of Europe may be in jeopardy (38). Public concern should focus on ways to deal with the realities of malaria transmission, rather than on the weather.

    Dr. Reiter is chief of the Entomology Section, Dengue Branch, CDC, San Juan, Puerto Rico. His research interests include the physiology, behavior, and ecology of mosquitoes, the transmission dynamics and epidemiology of the diseases they transmit, and improved methods for their control.

    My bold of the text.

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