Chapter 3 Malaria in the Amazon Basin: how climate change and natural disasters create new challenges for an old disease

In: Planetary health approaches to understand and control vector-borne diseases
Authors:
Leonardo Suveges Moreira Chaves† Departamento de Epidemiologia, Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo Av. Dr. Arnaldo, 715 – Pacaembu, CEP 01246-904, São Paulo, SP Brazil

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Tatiane Moraes de Sousa Departamento de Endemias Samuel Pessoa (DENSP), Sergio Arouca National School of Public Health (ENSP), Fundação Oswaldo Cruz – FIOCRUZ Rua Leopoldo Bulhões 1480, Sala 601, Bairro Manguinhos, CEP 21041–210, Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil

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Luiz Carlos Ferreira Penha Programa VigiFronteiras Brasil, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz – FIOCRUZ Av. Brasil, 4365 – Manguinhos, CEP 21040–900, Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil

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Sandra S. Hacon Departamento de Endemias Samuel Pessoa (DENSP), Sergio Arouca National School of Public Health (ENSP), Fundação Oswaldo Cruz – FIOCRUZ Rua Leopoldo Bulhões 1480, Sala 601, Bairro Manguinhos, CEP 21041–210, Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil

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Abstract

Amazon Basin has experienced intense forest degradation of its ecosystems, increasing environmental, social, and economic threats. Deforestation is the major threat to biodiversity as well as increasing pollution levels and their impacts, and the frequency of extreme hydrometeorological events. These natural disasters cause serious damage and losses to human social systems, impacting the ability of communities to keep their houses and altering their welfare, livelihood systems, health services capacity, and opportunities for social development. In addition, these forces disrupt natural systems through changing seasonal patterns and variable long-term trends in rainfall and temperature and increases in frequency and intensity of climate and weather extremes. Most natural disasters have been associated with floods, heatwaves, and tropical cyclones. These can have corresponding impacts on zoonotic and other infectious diseases, leading to emergence in new areas in the world and increased risks of epidemics. Flooding and other hydrometeorological hazards, storms, heat waves also can affect vector breeding sites and transmission of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and chikungunya. Open gold mining, fishponds, deforestation, and hydroelectric power plant in Amazon are some examples of drivers that can represent synergistic anthropogenically driven disasters, leading to events, such as mudslide, mosquito proliferation and vector-borne diseases. These events impact the most vulnerable populations, with people most impacted by floods, severe droughts, and loss of income at the highest risks of disease outbreaks. Malaria may not represent severe illness and deaths in Amazon Basin; however, the disease has strong impact in public health, with harmful effects in socio-economic and cultural development, with high morbidity, economic productivity losses, and severe negative impact on cognitive development of children, with anaemia, malnutrition, and saturating health services capacity. In this chapter, we present the main drivers and vulnerabilities associated with malaria incidence in Amazon Basin in time of extreme climatic events.

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