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Malaria to strike J&K by 2030

New Delhi: Himalayan states like Jammu and Kashmir will for the first time come in the grip of malaria by 2030 while the disease will continue to linger in the Northeast as the country’s temperature is likely to rise between 1.7-2.2 degree Celsius due to climate change.

Using the temperature and humidity criteria for determining the spread of the vector-borne disease, the report “Climate Change and India: A 4×4 Assessment,” however, notes that in the Western Ghats, the duration of the transmission windows will remain an annual affair in 2030s because of favourable environment for mosquito breeding.

The coastal areas, particularly the east coast, is projected to experience reduction in the number of months open for transmission as the surface annual air temperature will be much higer than required for survival of vectors.

The study on malaria was done as mosquitoes being climate sensitive die in extreme temperatures.

They cannot survive in extreme cold as well if the temperature is beyond 41 degrees Celsius. The suitable temperature for their survival is 25-37 Celsius degrees.

The report prepared by Indian Network on Climate Change Assessment (INCCA) of the environment ministry and released recently gives a detailed inter-relationship between climate, mosquito vector and malaria transmission for 2030 to take adequate steps for checking its spread.

Around 55 districts in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, West Bengal and Arunanchal Pradesh were assessed under the Himalayn region.

It was found that higher latitudes of Jammu and Kashmir in as many as two districts and one in Uttarakhand, which have no history of malaria, will show an opening in transmission windows for the three months in projected scenaorio due to increased temperature level.

The region is expected to witness an increase in temperature by .9 degree Celsius to 2.6 degree Celsius by 2030s with respect to 1970s, thus turning warmer when compared to existing cold conditions.

“Similarly, in Sikkim and Arunanchal Pradesh, the transmission windows are set to increase from current three months to 4-6 months in 2030s,” the report says.

It has predicted the transmission windows for malaria will remain open throughout the year in almost all 59 districts in six states such as Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Nagaland, again due to increase in temperature and humidity.

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