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Int J Parasitol. 1998 Jun;28(6):927-34.

Vector-borne parasitic diseases--an overview of recent changes.

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Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, U.K.


This paper summarises the impact of different changes (environmental, ecological, developmental) on the one hand, with the impact of control measures on the other. The former group of changes have tended to exacerbate the incidence and prevalence of vector-borne parasitic diseases while the reduced public funds available for the health sector have reduced disease surveillance systems. However, some vector control/eradication programmes have been successful. Vector control in onchocerciasis and Chagas' disease and immediate host control in Guinea worm have reduced the public health importance of these disease. This contrasts, with malaria, where the complexity of different ecological situations and the variable vector ecology have made control difficult and epidemics frequent and unpredictable. Advances in our knowledge of how to implement and sustain insecticide-impregnated bednets which reduce morbidity and mortality in under 5-year olds will be a key issue for the coming years. In African trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis, where control is dependent on effective diagnosis and surveillance followed by high-cost drug treatment, the health services are faced with major challenges--lack of drug availability and diagnostics no vector control--the diseases in some areas assuming epidemic status yet health services are unable to respond. Human African trypanosomiasis and visceral leishmaniasis are fatal if untreated, and require an emergency response approach. Changing vector distribution of Glossina is related to the ability of riverine flies of Glossina palpalis group to adapt to new vegetation patterns. In leishmaniasis changes have occurred in the distribution of the disease associated with development impact, urbanisation, civil unrest and changed agroforestry practice.

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