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Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 209–217 | Cite as

Environmental change, development and vectorborne disease: Malaysia’s experience with filariasis, scrub typhus and dengue

  • B. H. Kwa
Original Paper

Abstract

During Malaysia’s rapid economic development into becoming a middle income country in the past several decades, environmental changes resulted in altered land use patterns because of agricultural practices such as large scale rice, rubber and oil palm cultivation. The impact of environmental changes brought about by rice and rubber cultivation affected the breeding habitats of mosquito vectors which in turn affected the prevalence of two strains of lymphatic filariasis in different ways. With scrub typhus, the development of oil palm plantations affected the ecology of mite and rodent populations which resulted in very high incidence of the disease in affected populations. Malaysia’s relentless urbanization has resulted in increased incidence of dengue, as peridomestic mosquito vectors increasingly colonize urban habitats. This article discusses how ecological factors determine the way lymphatic filariasis, scrub typhus and dengue were spread in Malaysia. The nation’s experience with environmental changes due to rapid development provides lessons for other developing countries in control programs and public health policy.

Keywords

dengue development ecological changes environment lymphatic filariasis malaria Malaysia vectorborne disease 

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Notes

Acknowledgements

The author wishes to thank the Fulbright Foundation, the Malaysian–American Council for Educational Exchange, the Rockefeller Foundation and the School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia for their support.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Global Health College of Public HealthUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

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