Environmental Management: A Re-Emerging Vector Control Strategy

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  • Environmental Health Consultants International, Davis, California

Vector control may be accomplished by environmental management (EM), which consists of permanent or long-term modification of the environment, temporary or seasonal manipulation of the environment, and modifying or changing our life styles and practices to reduce human contact with infective vectors. The primary focus of this paper is EM in the control of human malaria, filariasis, arboviruses, Chagas' disease, and schistosomiasis. Modern EM developed as a discipline based primarily in ecologic principles and lessons learned from the adverse environmental impacts of rural development projects. Strategies such as the suppression of vector populations through the provision of safe water supplies, proper sanitation, solid waste management facilities, sewerage and excreta disposal systems, water manipulation in dams and irrigation systems, vector diversion by zooprophylaxis, and vector exclusion by improved housing, are discussed with appropriate examples. Vectors of malaria, filariasis, Chagas' disease, and schistosomiasis have been controlled by drainage or filling aquatic breeding sites, improved housing and sanitation, the use of expanded polystyrene beads, zooprophylaxis, or the provision of household water supplies. Community participation has been effective in the suppression of dengue vectors in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Alone or combined with other vector control methods, EM has been proven to be a successful approach to vector control in a number of places. The future of EM in vector control looks promising.

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