Conservation Medicine: Ecological Health in Practice

By A. Alonso Aguirre; Richard S. Ostfeld et al. | Go to book overview

15
Vector-Borne Infections and Health
Related to Landscape Changes
David H. Molyneux

The major vector-borne infections and the diseases caused by them are focused in the tropics; there is a significant overlap between the distribution of the majority of important vectors of human and animal diseases and the richly biodiverse tropical rain forest ecosystems, woodland savannas, and the edges of these ecosystems between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The major insect vector groups—Anopheles, Aedes, Culex and Mansonia mosquitoes; Simulium blackflies; new-world vectors of Leishmania (Lutzomyia);Chrysops vector of Loa loa; and Glossina species, which transmit trypanosomes—all have species that are dependent on forest, woodland savanna, or riverine forest ecosystems. It is the erosion of these ecosystems, the behavior of the vectors at the forest edge, the impact of reforestation on the interactions between humans with vectors, and reservoir hosts at the interface that determine the epidemiology of human infective agents (table 15.1). Additional factors are the degrees of immunity of local or migrant populations and their behavior, the interaction with and behavior of reservoir hosts, and the behavior and adaptability of insect vectors. Walsh and colleagues (1993) extensively reviewed the knowledge of vectorborne parasitic infections and the deforestation process. Molyneux (1997) provided an update on the patterns of change in vector-borne infections, identifying key components of changes in epidemiology in addition to deforestation. These include urbanization, antimicrobial and insecticide resistance, conflict-related events, and the many water-related issues—dam construction, irrigation, microdams, bore-hole constructions, inadequate waste-water disposal, and long-term water resource deficits. Over the last decade, remarkable advances have been made in the use and development of remote sensing techniques and data that, together with geographical information systems, provide exciting new tools for the bio

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