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Deforestation & Malaria

July 5, 2010

Malaria rates go up after areas of the Amazon rainforest are logged.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Rainforests and human health…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Everyone knows that the Amazon rainforest is important to the health of the planet. But a new study suggests that clear-cutting it has a big impact on human health, as well. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, analyzed satellite imagery of the Brazilian rainforest as well as public health records. Epidemiologist Sarah Olson says that in areas where large swaths of the rainforest had been cleared, people living nearby had about a 50% increased risk of malaria.

SARAH OLSON (University of Wisconsin – Madison):
We all know that tropical rainforest conservation has been a big issue, and lots of times we think about it in terms of environmental and ecological senses, thinking about endangered species, but when it comes down to it, this study shows that human health is also at risk when we’re deforesting the tropical rainforest.

HIRSHON:
I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.