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close this bookAgricultural Development and Vector-Borne Diseases (FAO - HABITAT - UNEP - WHO, 1996, 91 p.)
View the documentCopyrights
View the documentPreface - About PEEM - Acknowledgements
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction
View the documentGlossary
Open this folder and view contentsTopic A: Vector-borne diseases of relevance to agriculture
Open this folder and view contentsTopic B: Relevant disease vectors
Open this folder and view contentsTopic C: Vector habitats
Open this folder and view contentsTopic D: Disease transmission, with special reference to schistosomiasis
Open this folder and view contentsTopic E: Land use, vegetation and crops
Open this folder and view contentsTopic F: Water use in agriculture
Open this folder and view contentsTopic G: Cultivation practices
Open this folder and view contentsTopic H: Influence of livestock
Open this folder and view contentsTopic J: Plant protection, pest control and chemical inputs
Open this folder and view contentsTopic K: Rural settlements
Open this folder and view contentsBibliography
View the documentSlide Set Series


Some of the explanations of medical terms in this glossary may not follow the precise wording of official WHO definitions. Wording has been chosen with a view to faciliting proper understanding by a non-expert audience

Aedes mosquitoes

type of mosquito that may transmit diseases like yellow fever and dengue

agricultural environment

environment which is defined by characteristics which have an important bearing on crop production or crop cultivation, e.g. water availability and soil characteristics (e.g. upland rice environment, seasonally flooded river banks)


combination of ecosystem and cropping

Anopheles mosquitoes

type of mosquitoes that may transmit malaria and rural filariasis


an arthropod-borne virus, i.e. a virus that is transmitted by insects, ticks or mites


see: schistosomiasis

cost-effectiveness analysis

a form of economic evaluation where all the costs are expressed in monetary terms but where some of the effects are expressed in physical units (e.g. life-years gained, cases detected, etc.) - as opposed to cost-benefit analysis, where all effects are expressed in monetary terms only.

cropping intensity

land use as expressed in the number of crops that are cultivated on a particular surface area per year or season

cropping system

social, political and economic environment which determines crop cultivation practices. Compare with: ecosystem, agrosystem


a disease caused by viruses that are spread by Aedes mosquitoes; dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF): potentially fatal complication of dengue characterized by bleeding from nose, mouth, skin wounds and internal organs.

economic evaluation

a process whereby costs of alternative actions are compared with the consequences in terms of improved health, savings in resources and opportunities lost. Compare with: financial evaluation


physical and ecological environment that determines crop production potential. Compare with: cropping systems, agrosystems


see: ecosystem


inflammation of the brain


a term referring to the continuous presence of infection in a given community. Compare with: epidemic

environmental assessment

study to forecast the positive and negative effects of a particular project on the environment, and to recommend measures to mitigate possible negative effects.

environmental management

planning, organization, implementation and monitoring of activities for the modification and/or manipulation of environmental factors or their interaction with humans with a view to preventing or reducing vector propagation and reducing human-vector-pathogen contact. See also: environmental manipulation, environmental modification, human-vector contact

environmental manipulation

a form of environmental management consisting of any planned recurrent activity aimed at producing temporary conditions unfavourable to the breeding of vectors in their habitat (e.g. weeding of irrigation canals for the control of snail vectors of schistosomiasis, regulation of water level in reservoirs, water salinity changes). See also: environmental management, environmental modification.

environmental modification

a form of environmental management consisting of any physical transformation that is permanent or long-lasting of land, water and vegetation, aimed at preventing, eliminating or reducing the habitats of vectors without causing unduly adverse effects on the quality of the human environment (e.g. drainage, filling, land levelling). See also: environmental manipulation, environmental management


the occurrence of disease or illness that attacks greater numbers of people in one place at one time than expected on the basis of data from the past. Compare with: endemic


a disease caused by parasitic worms which occur in the blood, lymph vessels and lymph nodes, and which may be transmitted by Anopheles, Culex, Mansonia and Aedes mosquitoes

financial evaluation

a process whereby costs or alternative actions are compared with the consequences in monetary terms. Compare with: economic evaluation

food security

conditions whereby people have both physical and economic access to food at all times

health impact assessment

part of an environmental impact assessment dealing with health issues relating to beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of the project. A health impact assessment should address both adverse effects as well as opportunities to further improve health. See also: health opportunities

health monitoring

part of project monitoring that evaluates the health impacts following project construction and implementation, the acceptability and the effectiveness of the mitigation measures that were carried out, as well as an assessment of the institutional, financial and legal arrangements in support of the implementation of these measures

health opportunities assessment

study to evaluate how a particular development project can be used to promote health, either as part of the project, or through the concurrent implementation of a complementary health project

health risk

probability of an unhealthy state (e.g. infection, disease, death, disability) occurring within a certain time period

health hazard

a potential for causing harm to people’s health

health sector

the sector that includes government ministries and departments, social security and health insurance schemes, voluntary organizations and private individuals and groups providing health services

human-vector contact

direct contact between humans and vectors, which may therefore potentially lead to transmission of infection. Human-vector contact is determined by the distance between habitation and vector breeding sites, hygiene and personal protection measures, and provisions to divert humans and vectors from each other such as facilities for water supply and sanitation, mechanical barriers, zooprophylaxis, etc. The degree of human-vector contact is usually expressed as the number of vector mosquito bites per person per unit of time, the number or duration of contacts that a person has with snail-infected water per unit of time, etc.


all natural ability to prevent infection, reinfection or superinfection, or to destroy parasites or to limit their multiplication, or which reduce the clinical effects of infection


the presence in the body of viruses or organisms such as bacteria, protozoa, fungi or helminths which multiply or develop, completing all or part of their life cycle within the tissues of an animal or human host (infection may or may not lead to a disease state); ~ rate: the number of infected individuals per total population (e.g. the proportion of infected mosquitoes)

institutional arrangements

the administrative arrangements and procedures that formalize contacts between ministries and (semi-)governmental bodies involved in a project

intersectoral collaboration

the process of joint planning, construction, implementation and monitoring by ministries and authorities belonging to different public sectors, including sharing of resources in order to enable each ministry or body to carry out their responsibilities that were mutually agreed upon

Japanese encephalitis (JE)

an zoonotic disease caused by an arbovirus and which, due to the breeding behaviour of the mosquito vector, is strongly associated with irrigated rice cultivation in Asia


a zoonotic disease, caused by parasitic protozoa of the genus Leishmania, which is transmitted by sandflies. Its potentially fatal visceral form is also called Kala-azar


a disease caused by parasitic protozoa that are transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles


the state of being diseased (also used in an epidemiological sense to indicate the effect of disease, as quantified by the frequency, duration and severity of disease); ~ rate: proportion of sick people in a particular area or population per unit of time


death or the effect of death on a population; ~ rate: number of deaths in a particular area or population per number of people and per unit of time

night storage water reservoir

water reservoir constructed between a water source and irrigated fields to allow for the storage of water during the night time, so that the irrigating time is reduced and water can be saved by irrigating during the daytime only, when plants absorb water more efficiently


a disease caused by the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus that is transmitted by blackflies. See also: river blindness


disease-causing organism that live in another organism termed the host, from which it draws nourishment; ~ rate: proportion of people who are found to be infected

project monitoring

the continuous process of comparing the effects of a project with the predictions and plans that were made before project construction or implementation. See also: health monitoring

resistance, insecticide ~

an inherited ability in a population of insects to tolerate doses of an insecticide which would prove lethal to the majority of individuals in a normal population of the same species; developed as a result of selection pressure by the insecticide

river blindness

see: onchocerciasis


tiny kind of flies that may transmit leishmaniasis


disease caused by the eggs of Schistosoma worms, which are transmitted by certain aquatic or amphibious snails. See also: bilharziasis


distinct part of the economy e.g. health, agriculture, natural resources, economic planning, water resources, industry, private sector. Compare: health sector

severe disease

acutely life-threatening disease


passing of infection from person to person; ~ rate: frequency of transmission, measured as the number of infections per person per unit of time (e.g. the number of infected mosquito bites per person-month)

triatomine bugs

certain type of crawling bugs that may transmit Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis)


blood-sucking flies that may transmit African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)


a disease of animals and humans caused by Trypanosoma parasites, which are transmitted by tsetse flies in Africa and by triatomine bugs in South and Central America. In Africa the disease is referred to as sleeping sickness, as it affects the central nervous system. The parasite species found in the Americas affects smooth muscle tissue and causes chagas disease


term used broadly here to refer to any animal that transmit human disease or plays an essential role in the parasite’s life cycle (e.g. anopheline mosquitoes of malaria, snail hosts of schistosomiasis, or rodent reservoirs of leshmaniasis)


infectious disease that under normal conditions occurs in vertebrate animals only


the use of livestock or domestic animals to divert vectors from humans