Mapping physiological suitability limits for malaria in Africa under climate change

Sadie J. Ryan, Amy Mcnally, Leah R. Johnson, Erin A. Mordecai, Tal Ben-Horin, Krijn Paaijmans, Kevin D. Lafferty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


We mapped current and future temperature suitability for malaria transmission in Africa using a published model that incorporates nonlinear physiological responses to temperature of the mosquito vector Anopheles gambiae and the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. We found that a larger area of Africa currently experiences the ideal temperature for transmission than previously supposed. Under future climate projections, we predicted a modest increase in the overall area suitable for malaria transmission, but a net decrease in the most suitable area. Combined with human population density projections, our maps suggest that areas with temperatures suitable for year-round, highest-risk transmission will shift from coastal West Africa to the Albertine Rift between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, whereas areas with seasonal transmission suitability will shift toward sub-Saharan coastal areas. Mapping temperature suitability places important bounds on malaria transmissibility and, along with local level demographic, socioeconomic, and ecological factors, can indicate where resources may be best spent on malaria control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)718-725
Number of pages8
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • Climate change
  • Malaria
  • Physiological response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology
  • Microbiology


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