Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of eidLink to Publisher's site
Emerg Infect Dis. 2000 Jan-Feb; 6(1): 1–11.
PMCID: PMC2627969

From Shakespeare to Defoe: malaria in England in the Little Ice Age.


Present global temperatures are in a warming phase that began 200 to 300 years ago. Some climate models suggest that human activities may have exacerbated this phase by raising the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Discussions of the potential effects of the weather include predictions that malaria will emerge from the tropics and become established in Europe and North America. The complex ecology and transmission dynamics of the disease, as well as accounts of its early history, refute such predictions. Until the second half of the 20th century, malaria was endemic and widespread in many temperate regions, with major epidemics as far north as the Arctic Circle. From 1564 to the 1730s the coldest period of the Little Ice Age malaria was an important cause of illness and death in several parts of England. Transmission began to decline only in the 19th century, when the present warming trend was well under way. The history of the disease in England underscores the role of factors other than temperature in malaria transmission.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (783K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Lindzen RS. Can increasing carbon dioxide cause climate change? Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Aug 5;94(16):8335–8342. [PubMed]
  • Martens WJ. Health impacts of climate change and ozone depletion: an ecoepidemiologic modeling approach. Environ Health Perspect. 1998 Feb;106 (Suppl 1):241–251. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dobson M. Marsh fever: the geography of malaria in England. J Hist Geogr. 1980;6(4):357–389. [PubMed]
  • Dobson MJ. Malaria in England: a geographical and historical perspective. Parassitologia. 1994 Aug;36(1-2):35–60. [PubMed]
  • Dobson MJ. Bitter-sweet solutions for malaria: exploring natural remedies from the past. Parassitologia. 1998 Jun;40(1-2):69–81. [PubMed]
  • RUSSELL PF. World-wide malaria distribution, prevalence, and control. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1956 Nov;5(6):937–965. [PubMed]
  • Fisk GH. MALARIA AND THE ANOPHELES MOSQUITO IN CANADA. Can Med Assoc J. 1931 Dec;25(6):679–683. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Loevinsohn ME. Climatic warming and increased malaria incidence in Rwanda. Lancet. 1994 Mar 19;343(8899):714–718. [PubMed]
  • McMichael AJ, Patz J, Kovats RS. Impacts of global environmental change on future health and health care in tropical countries. Br Med Bull. 1998;54(2):475–488. [PubMed]
  • Mouchet J, Manguin S, Sircoulon J, Laventure S, Faye O, Onapa AW, Carnevale P, Julvez J, Fontenille D. Evolution of malaria in Africa for the past 40 years: impact of climatic and human factors. J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 1998 Jun;14(2):121–130. [PubMed]

Articles from Emerging Infectious Diseases are provided here courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention