As countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) increasingly focus their malaria control and elimination efforts on reducing forest-related transmission, greater understanding of the relationship between deforestation and malaria incidence will be essential for programs to assess and meet their 2030 elimination goals. Leveraging village-level health facility surveillance data and forest cover data in a spatio-temporal modeling framework, we found evidence that deforestation is associated with short-term increases, but long-term decreases in confirmed malaria case incidence in Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). We identified strong associations with deforestation measured within 30 km of villages but not with deforestation in the near (10 km) and immediate (1 km) vicinity. Results appear driven by deforestation in densely forested areas and were more pronounced for infections with Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) than for Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax). These findings highlight the influence of forest activities on malaria transmission in the GMS.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for Figures 2, 3, 4 and 5 and for Tables 1, 2 and 3.
Global Forest Change 2000-201810.1126/science.1244693.
- Francois Rerolle
- Emily Dantzer
- Andrew A Lover
- Bouasy Hongvanthong
- Hugh JW Sturrock
- Adam Bennett
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: This study was approved by the National Ethics Committee for Health Research at the Lao Ministry of Health (Approval #2016-014; 8/22/2016) and by the UCSF ethical review board (Approvals #16-19649 and #17-22577). The informed consent process was consistent with local norms, and all study areas had a consultation meeting with, and approvals from, village elders. All participants provided informed written consent; caregivers provided consent for all children under 18, and all children aged 10 and above also provided consent directly. The study was conducted according to the ethical principles of the Declaration of Helsinki of October 2002.
- Ben S Cooper, Mahidol University, Thailand
© 2021, Rerolle et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.