More than Mosquitoes: Malaria Risk in Ann Township, Myanmar

Authors: Amanda Hoffman-Hall*, University of Maryland, Tatiana V. Loboda, University of Maryland College Park
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Land Use and Land Cover Change, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: malaria, Myanmar, health, epidemiology, remote sensing, vector
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Tyler, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The country of Myanmar bears the heaviest malaria burden in Southeast Asia. The township of Ann, within Rakhine State, has the second highest prevalence of malarial infection within the country, particularly of subclinical malaria. The World Health Organization has set a goal of reducing malaria case incidence by 90% by the year 2030. To achieve this goal it is critical to understand not only parasite biology and vector habitat suitability, but the community level and individual level risk factors that contribute to human vulnerability to malaria. These risk factors have been shown to be influenced by geography, particularly the living and working conditions of communities, cultural traditions, and demographics. This research collected blood samples and demographic information of ~1000 participants across five villages within Ann Township. The data was then combined with land cover and landscape change data derived from remotely sensed imagery and unstructured interviews to more fully explain the prevalence of malaria within these villages. Preliminary results indicate an association between malaria infection prevalence and remotely sensed rates of forest change - particularly natural forest conversion to plantation. However, few participants from the survey indicated frequenting a plantation or forest, despite the high presence of such land covers in the area surrounding their village. These results indicate that land cover (particularly land cover change) may be more influential to malaria risk than livelihood within Ann Township.

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