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Relationships between Flood Control, Kala-azar, and Diarrheal Disease in Bangladesh


Emch, Michael E. (2000). Relationships between Flood Control, Kala-azar, and Diarrheal Disease in Bangladesh. Environment and Planning A, 32(6), 1051-1063.


In 1990, a large flood-control project called the Flood Action Plan(FAP) was started in Bangladesh. The FAP built many embankments to divert water during the rainy season. This paper includes two case studies of diseases that are related to flood control in Bangladesh: kala-azar and diarrheal disease. Kala-azar is caused by the protozoan Leishmania donovani and is transmitted to humans by the sandfly Phlebotomus argentipes. It was found that the incidence of kala-azar in embanked areas of northwest Bangladesh was significantly higher than the incidence in nonembanked areas. This can be attributed to the lack of seasonal flooding in the embanked areas, because flooding reduces the number of P. argentipes larvae in these areas. Flood control is also related to diarrheal disease near the Bay of Bengal. Diarrheal disease incidence data were collected for people who were hospitalized at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research Hospital from 1 January 1992 to 31 December 1994. Individuals living in flood-controlled areas were 2.47 times more likely to be hospitalized with cholera than those living outside flood-controlled areas. The relationship between flood control and noncholera diarrhea was not quite as strong with a relative-risk ratio of 1.42.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Environment and Planning A


Emch, Michael E.