In a recent study, Chaves et al.1 find international consumption and trade to be major drivers of ‘malaria risk’ via deforestation. Their analysis is based on a counterfactual ‘malaria risk’ footprint, defined as the number of malaria cases in absence of two malaria interventions, which is constructed using linear regression. In this letter, I argue that their study hinges on an obscured weighting scheme and suffers from methodological flaws, such as disregard for sources of bias.
As new and re-emerging vector-borne diseases are occurring across the world, East Africa represents an interesting location, being the origin of several arboviruses with a history of urbanization and global spread. Rapid expansion of urban populations and alteration of natural habitats creates the opportunity for arboviruses to host-switch from wild, sylvatic hosts or vectors into urban transmission affecting human populations. Although mosquito surveillance regularly takes place in urban areas of Kenya, for example identifying vectors of dengue virus or malaria viruses, little work has been carried out to determine the distribution and abundance of sylvatic vectors. Here, we describe the mosquito vector species and diversity collected at twelve forest habitats of rural Kenya.
Deforestation can increase the transmission of malaria. Here, we build upon the existing link between malaria risk and deforestation by investigating how the global demand for commodities that increase deforestation can also increase malaria risk. We use a database of trade relationships to link the consumption of deforestation-implicated commodities in developed countries to estimates of country-level malaria risk in developing countries.
Deforestation and land use change are among the most pressing anthropogenic environmental impacts. In Brazil, a resurgence of malaria in recent decades paralleled rapid deforestation and settlement in the Amazon basin, yet evidence of a deforestation-driven increase in malaria remains equivocal.