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The Ethnoecology of Dengue Fever

As mentioned in our April 25th blog post in honor of  World Malaria Day, AAA recognized this important day with a special virtual issue of Medical Anthropology Quarterly. This special edition re-released articles which demonstrate ways that ethnography and human behavior studies help to change care management and public health policy.

Approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, particularly those living in lower-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO calculates that every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria. By joining the global movement to roll back these staggering statics on malaria, anthropologists serve as catalyst around the world to research the medical and cultural impacts of this disease and share their findings to help count malaria out.

Over the coming weeks, each article will be featured here on the AAA blog. Here is the sixth of seven highlighted articles:

The Ethnoecology of Dengue Fever
Linda Whiteford
Medical Anthropology Quarterly, June 1997

This article employs an ethnoecological analysis to link indigenous, ethnomedical, and Western biomedical ideas of infectious disease causation/prevention. The ethnoecological analysis is expanded to include the cultural and historical context of political will and community participation in dengue fever control activities in an urban neighborhood in the Dominican Republic. Findings indicate that a key source of dengue fever transmission has been overlooked because it falls between established gender-role boundaries, and that mala union, an explanatory concept central to the failure of previous community-based interventions, emerges from local views of national political history.

To read the entire article, click here.


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