Impact of vectorborne parasitic neglected tropical diseases on child health

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Abstract

Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis are all vectorborne neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that are responsible for significant disease burden in impoverished children and adults worldwide. As vectorborne parasitic diseases, they can all be targeted for elimination through vector control strategies. Examples of successful vector control programmes for these diseases over the past two decades have included the Southern Cone Initiative against Chagas disease, the Kala-azar Control Scheme against leishmaniasis, the Onchocerciasis Control Programme and the lymphatic filariasis control programme in The Gambia. A common vector control component in all of these programmes is the use of adulticides including dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and newer synthetic pyrethroid insecticides against the insect vectors of disease. Household spraying has been used against Chagas disease and leishmaniasis, and insecticide-treated bed nets have helped prevent leishmaniasis and lymphatic filariasis. Recent trends in vector control focus on collaborations between programmes and sectors to achieve integrated vector management that addresses the holistic vector control needs of a community rather than approaching it on a disease-by-disease basis, with the goals of increased efficacy, sustainability and cost-effectiveness. As evidence of vector resistance to currently used insecticide regimens emerges, research to develop new and improved insecticides and novel control strategies will be critical in reducing disease burden. In the quest to eliminate these vectorborne NTDs, efforts need to be made to continue existing control programmes, further implement integrated vector control strategies and stimulate research into new insecticides and control methods.

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