, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 19–24 | Cite as

Mosquito-borne Diseases as a Consequence of Land Use Change

  • Douglas E. NorrisEmail author


Human modification of the natural environment continues to create habitats in which mosquitoes, vectors of a wide variety of human and animal pathogens, thrive if unabated with an enormous potential to negatively affect public health. Historic examples of these modifications include of impoundments, dams, and irrigation systems that create havens for the mosquitoes that transmit malaria, dengue, and filariasis. Additionally, contemporary deforestation appears to be associated with the expansion of mosquito distributions and the increase in mosquito-borne disease transmission. These observations are not unique to the developing world, as urban sprawl also contributes significantly to mosquito habitats and offers a sanctuary to some vector populations. With foresight and planning, most of these systems can be appropriately managed to control vector populations and pathogen transmission. The key to disease control is developing an understanding of the contribution of human landscape modification to vector-borne pathogen transmission and how a balance may be achieved between human development, public health, and responsible land use.


vector ecology habitat mosquito 



I thank Dr. Charles Apperson for introducing me to the importance of storm water management to vector control, and Aimee West for valuable editorial comments.


  1. Alemayehu, T, Ye-ebiyo, Y, Ghebreyesus, TA, Witten, KH, Bosman, A, Teklehaimanot, A 1998Malaria, schistosomiasis, and intestinal helminthes in relation to microdams in Tigray, northern EthiopiaParassitologia40259267Google Scholar
  2. Amerasinghe, FP, Ariyasena, TG 1990Larval survey of surface water breeding mosquitoes during irrigation development in the Maahaweli Project, Sri LankaJournal of Medical Entomology27789802Google Scholar
  3. Byrne, K, Nichols, RA 1999 Culex pipiens in London Underground tunnels: differentiation between surface and subterranean populationHeredity82715Google Scholar
  4. Carmago, LMA, Ferreira, MU, Krieger, H, Carmago, EP, da Sila, LP 1994Unstable hypoendemic malaria in Rondonia (Western Amazon Region, Brazil): epidemic outbreaks and work associated incidence in an agro-industrial rural settlementAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene511625Google Scholar
  5. Chavasse, DC, Lines, JD, Ichimori, K, Marijani, J 1995Mosquito control in Dar es Salaam. I. Assessment of Culex quinquefasciatus breeding sites prior to interventionMedical and Veterinary Entomology9141146Google Scholar
  6. Conn, JE, Wilkerson, M, Segura, MNO, Souza, RTL, Schlichting, CD, Wirtz, RA,  et al. 2002Emergence of a new neotropical malaria vector facilitated by human migration and changes in land useAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene661822Google Scholar
  7. Dian, Z, Changxing, S 2001Sedimentary causes and management of two principal environmental problems in the lower Yellow RiverEnvironmental Management28749760Google Scholar
  8. Geery, PR, Holub, RE 1989Seasonal abundance and control of Culex spp. in catch basins in IllinoisJournal of the American Mosquito Control Association5537540Google Scholar
  9. Gratz, NG 1999Emerging and resurging vector-borne diseasesAnnual Review of Entomology445175Google Scholar
  10. Ljumba, JN, Lindsay, SW 2001Impact of irrigation on malaria in Africa: paddies paradoxMedical and Veterinary Entomology15111Google Scholar
  11. Ljumba, JN, Mosha, FW, Lindsay, SW 2002Malaria transmission risk variations derived from different agricultural practices in an irrigated area of northern TanzaniaMedical and Veterinary Entomology162838Google Scholar
  12. Kay, BH, Ryan, PA, Russell, BM, Holt, JS, Lyons, SA, Foley, PN 2000aThe importance of subterranean mosquito habitat to arbovirus vector control strategies in North Queensland, AustraliaJournal of Medical Entomology37846853Google Scholar
  13. Kay, BH, Sutton, KA, Russell, BM 2000bA sticky entry-exit trap for sampling mosquitoes in subterranean habitatsJournal of the American Mosquito Control Association16262265Google Scholar
  14. Lindblade, KA, Walker, ED, Onapa, AW, Katungu, J, Wilson, ML 2000Land use change alters malaria transmission parameters by modifying temperature in a highland area of UgandaTropical Medicine & International Health5263274Google Scholar
  15. Manga, L, Toto, JC, Carnevale, P 1995Malaria vectors and transmission in an area deforested for a new international airport in southern CameroonAnnales de la Societe Belge de Medecine Tropicale754349Google Scholar
  16. Molyneux, DH 2003Common themes in changing vector-borne disease scenariosTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene97129132Google Scholar
  17. Mouchet, J, Carnevale, P 1997[Impact of changes in the environment on vector-transmitted diseases]Sante7263269 (in French)Google Scholar
  18. Nasci, RS, Newton, NH, Terrillion, GF, Parsons, RE, Dame, DA, Miller, JR,  et al. 2001Interventions: vector control and public education (panel discussion)Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences951235254Google Scholar
  19. Nwoke, BE, Nduka, FO, Okereke, OM, Ehighibe, OC 1993Sustainable urban development and human health: septic tanks are a major breeding habitat of mosquito vectors of human diseases in south-eastern NigeriaApplied Parasitology34110Google Scholar
  20. Patz, JA, Graczyk, TK, Geller, N, Vittor, AY 2000Effects of environmental change on emerging parasitic diseasesInternational Journal of Parasitology12-1313951405Google Scholar
  21. Ramasamy, R, Alwis, R, Wijesundere, A, Ramasamy, MS 1992Malaria transmission at a new irrigation project in Sri Lanka: the emergence of Anopheles annularis as a major vectorAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene47547553Google Scholar
  22. Regis, L, Silva-Filha, MH, Oliveira, CM, Rios, EM, da Silva, SB, Furtad, AF 1995Integrated control measures against Culex quinquefasciatus, the vector of filariasis in RecifeMemorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz90115119Google Scholar
  23. Russell, BM, McBride, WJH, Mullner, H, Kay, BH 2002Epidemiological significance of subterranean Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) breeding sites to dengue virus infection in Charters Towers, 1993Journal of Medical Entomology39143145Google Scholar
  24. Tadei, WP, Dutary Thatcher, B 2000Malaria vectors in the Brazilian amazon: Anopheles of the subgenus NyssorhynchusRevista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de Sao Paulo428794Google Scholar
  25. Vasconcelos, PF, Rodrigues, SG, Degallier, N, Moraes, MA, da Rosa, JF, da Rosa, ES,  et al. 1997An epidemic of sylvatic yellow fever in the southeast region of Maranhao State, Brazil, 1993–1994: epidemiologic and entomologic findings.American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene57132137Google Scholar
  26. Vasconcelos, PFC, Travassos da Rosa, APA, Rodrigues, SG, Travassos da Rosa, ES, Dégallier, N, Travassos da Rosa, JFS 2001Inadequate management of natural ecosystem in the Brazilian Amazon region results in the emergence and reemergence of arboviruses.Cademos de Saúde Público, Rio de Janeiro17155164Google Scholar
  27. Walsh, JF, Molyneux, DH, Birley, MH 1993Deforestation: effects on vector-borne disease.Parasitology106S55S75Google Scholar

Copyright information

© EcoHealth Journal Consortium 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, The W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and ImmunologyThe Johns Hopkins Malaria Research InstituteBaltimore

Personalised recommendations