Preventing human liver fluke transmission in Southeast Asia: A spatiotemporal analyses from a rural community in the Lao People's Democratic Republic

Authors: Daniel Yonto*, University of North Carolina - Charlotte, Hongwei Jiang, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan, Lin Lin, Xi’an Jiaotong – Liverpool University
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Asia, Rural Geography
Keywords: Liver fluke, Southeast Asia, Laos, Disease Prevention
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 2:35 PM / 4:15 PM
Room: Marshall South, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Human liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini, is a major public health problem in Southeast Asia. Individuals acquire the infection by eating raw or undercooked fish that harbors the parasite. Liver fluke is then transmitted when the infected host defecates and their feces reaches freshwater. Previous infectious disease research recognizes that human movement through space and time has an impact on the transmission of diseases by individuals in overlapping activity spaces. One challenge, however, is a lack of studies in rural Southeast Asian that depict individual mobility. Our study fills this gap by investigating the association of activity space, seasonal change and gender differences of a rural community in central Lao People's Democratic Republic, an endemic area of Liver fluke. Five waves of survey data were conducted in Songkhon district, Savankhet province, Laos in March 2010, June 2010, September 2010, December 2010, and March 2011. Adults aged between 18 and 65 were recruited (n=30). A portable GPS recorded activity and farmland locations of participants and an accelerometer recorded participant’s physical activity level. Results show that physical activity for men were significantly longer than females. The radii of activity space participants also varied by month. Understanding travel activities would help device effective intervention programs on controlling disease risk exposure. Our results contribute to the investigation of the relation between human behavior and liver fluke control by exploring the association between human activity and environment in rural areas in Southeast Asia.

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