African dams linked to over 1 million malaria cases annually
New study urges future dam projects to consider better disease control measures
(Press-News.org) PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA (11 September 2015)--Over one million people in sub-Saharan Africa will contract malaria this year because they live near a large dam, according to a new study which, for the first time, has correlated the location of large dams with the incidence of malaria and quantified impacts across the region. The study finds that construction of an expected 78 major new dams in sub-Saharan Africa over the next few years will lead to an additional 56,000 malaria cases annually.
The research, published in this month's Malaria Journal, has major implications for new dam projects and how health impacts should be assessed prior to construction. Encouraged by the increased volume of international aid for water resource development, sub-Saharan Africa has, in recent years, experienced a new era of large dam construction.
"Dams are at the center of much development planning in Africa. While dams clearly bring many benefits--contributing to economic growth, poverty alleviation and food security--adverse malaria impacts need to be addressed or they will undermine the sustainability of Africa's drive for development," said biologist Solomon Kibret of the University of New England in Australia, the paper's lead author.
Undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems, the study looked at 1,268 dams in sub-Saharan Africa. Of these, just under two-thirds, or 723, are in malarious areas. The researchers compared detailed maps of malaria incidence with the dam sites. The number of annual malaria cases associated with the dams was estimated by comparing the difference in the number of cases for communities less than five kilometers from the dam reservoir with those for communities further away. The researchers found that a total of 15 million people live within five kilometers of dam reservoirs and are at risk, and at least 1.1 million malaria cases annually are linked to the presence of the dams.
"Our study showed that the population at risk of malaria around dams is at least four times greater than previously estimated," said Kibret, noting that the authors were conservative in all their analyses.
The risk is particularly high in areas of sub-Saharan Africa with "unstable" malaria transmission, where malaria is seasonal. The study indicated that the impact of dams on malaria in unstable areas could either lead to intensified malaria transmission or change the nature of transmission from seasonal to perennial.
Previous research has identified increased malarial incidence near major sub-Saharan dams such as the Akosombo Dam in Ghana, the Koka Dam in Ethiopia and the Kamburu Dam in Kenya. But until now, no attempt has been made to assess the cumulative effect of large dam building on malaria.
Malaria is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito, which needs slow-moving or stagnant water in which to breed. Dam reservoirs, particularly shallow puddles that often form along shorelines, provide a perfect environment for the insects to multiply. Thus dam construction can intensify transmission and shift patterns of malaria infection. Many other water bodies, including small dams, ponds and natural lakes and wetlands, provide breeding habitat for mosquitoes. In total, there are an estimated 174 million cases of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa per year.
Many African countries are planning new dams to help drive economic growth and increase water security. Improved water storage for growing populations, irrigation and hydropower generation are indeed badly needed for a fast developing continent. But the researchers warn that building new dams has potential costs as well as benefits.
"Dams are an important option for governments anxious to develop," said Matthew McCartney of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and a co-author of the paper. "But it is unethical that people living close to them pay the price of that development through increased suffering and, possibly in extreme cases, loss of life due to disease."
The study notes that despite growing evidence of the impact of dams on malaria, there is scant evidence of their negative impacts being fully offset.
The authors make recommendations about how the increased malaria risk can be managed. Dam reservoirs could be more effectively designed and managed to reduce mosquito breeding. For instance, one option is to adopt operating schedules that, at critical times, dry out shoreline areas where mosquitoes tend to breed. Dam developers should also consider increasing investment in integrated malaria intervention programs that include measures such as bed net distribution. Other environmental controls, such as introducing fish that eat mosquito larva in dam reservoirs, could also help reduce malaria cases in some instances.
"The bottom line is that adverse malaria impacts of dams routinely receive recognition in Environmental Impact Assessments, and areas around dams are frequently earmarked for intensive control efforts. The findings of our work hammer home the reality that this recognition and effort--well-intentioned though it may be--is simply not sufficient," said co-author Jonathan Lautze, a researcher at the International Water Management Institute's office in Pretoria, South Africa. "Given the need for water resources development in Africa, malaria control around dams requires interdisciplinary cooperation, particularly between water and health communities. Malaria must be addressed while planning, designing and operating African dams."
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is a non-profit, scientific research organization focusing on the sustainable use of water and land resources in developing countries. IWMI is a member of the CGIAR Consortium. CGIAR is a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food-secure future. It leads the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems which examines how we can intensify agriculture while still protecting the environment and lifting millions of farm families out of poverty. http://www.iwmi.org
The CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) combines the resources of 11 CGIAR Centers, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and numerous national, regional and international partners to provide an integrated approach to natural resource management research. WLE promotes a new approach to sustainable intensification in which a healthy functioning ecosystem is seen as a perquisite to agricultural development, resilience of food systems and well-being. This program is led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a member of the CGIAR Consortium and is supported by CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future. wle.cgiar.org
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
The need to be constantly available and respond 24/7 on social media accounts can cause depression, anxiety and reduce sleep quality for teenagers says a study being presented today, Friday 11 September 2015, at a British Psychological Society conference in Manchester.
The researchers, Dr Heather Cleland Woods and Holly Scott of the University of Glasgow, provided questionnaires for 467 teenagers regarding their overall and night-time specific social media use. A further set of tests measured sleep quality, self-esteem, anxiety, depression and emotional investment in ...
Scientists have developed a new technique that produces a user friendly, low cost, tissue-engineered pseudo-organ. The chip-based model produces a faithful mimic of the in vivo liver inside a scalable fluid-handling device, demonstrating proof of principle for toxicology tests and opening up potential use in drug testing and personalised medicine.
The results are published today, Friday 11th September, in the journal Biofabrication.
The work was done by researchers based at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University ...
Scientists have made promising steps in developing a new magnetic memory technology, which is far less susceptible to corruption by magnetic fields or thermal exposure than conventional memory.
The findings, which report the use of magnetic permeability - how easily a magnetic field will magnetize a material - are published today, Friday 11th September, in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics.
These findings open up a new approach to a variety of applications from high-density radiation hard memory suitable for space travel to more secure ID cards.
In conventional ...
Eating a lot of fish may help curb the risk of depression--at least in Europe--suggests a pooled analysis of the available evidence, published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
The association between a fishy diet and mental health appears to be equally significant among men and women, the first analysis of its kind indicates.
Depression affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide, and is projected to become the second leading cause of ill health by 2020.
Several previous studies have looked at the possible role of dietary factors in ...
Working 12+ hour shifts is linked to a heightened risk of burnout, job dissatisfaction, and intention to leave among hospital nurses in 12 European countries, finds research published in the online journal BMJ Open.
The findings run counter to the perceived value among both nurses and employers of working longer shifts, which are increasingly common practice in England, Ireland, and Poland, say the researchers.
Job satisfaction and burnout are global concerns in the nursing workforce, because of the potential impact they have not only on the quality and safety of patient ...
A wide range of avoidable risk factors to health - ranging from air pollution to poor diets to unsafe water - account for a growing number of deaths and a significant amount of disease burden, according to a new analysis of 79 risks in 188 countries.
High blood pressure was the number-one individual risk factor associated with global deaths in 2013, contributing to 10.4 million deaths around the world that year. High blood pressure's impact on mortality grew by 49.1% between 1990 - when it was also the number-one global risk - and 2013. While this risk heavily impacts ...
DALLAS, Sept. 10, 2015 -- Are you getting enough quality sleep? Are you sleeping longer than you should? Poor sleep habits may put you at higher risk for early signs of heart disease when compared to those who get adequate, good quality sleep, according to a study published in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.
"Inadequate sleep is a common problem and a likely source of poor health, including visible signs of disease, such as heart attack," said Chan-Won Kim, M.D., study co-lead author and clinical associate professor ...
DALLAS, Sept. 10, 2015 - For better cardiovascular health, check your gut. Bacteria living in your gut may impact your weight, fat and good cholesterol levels, factors necessary to help maintain a healthy heart, according to new research in Circulation Research, an American Heart Association journal.
"Our study provides new evidence that microbes in the gut are strongly linked to the blood level of HDL (good cholesterol) and triglycerides and may be added as a new risk factor for abnormal blood lipids, in addition to age, gender, BMI and genetics," said Jingyuan Fu, Ph.D., ...
They're the latest rage in jewelry and gadgetry, but like all computer devices, smart watches are vulnerable to hackers, say researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Using a homegrown app on a Samsung Gear Live smart watch, the researchers were able to guess what a user was typing through data "leaks" produced by the motion sensors on smart watches. The project, called Motion Leaks through Smartwatch Sensors, or MoLe, has privacy implications, as an app that is camouflaged as a pedometer, for example, could gather data from emails, search queries ...
Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have released details of a deep-sea site roughly 48 kilometers (30 miles) west of Del Mar (just north of San Diego, Calif.) where methane is seeping out of the seafloor, the first such finding in the region.
Scripps graduate students on a 2012 UC Ship Funds Program expedition aboard Scripps's research vessel Melville off San Diego County discovered the "Del Mar Seep" during the San Diego Coastal Expedition. Such methane seeps are fascinating environments because of their extraordinary chemical features, ...
LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES: