Environmental measures for control of ectoparasites, mosquitoes, and other arthropods of medical and veterinary importance almost disappeared with the advent of chemical, synthetic insecticides (WHO
1982). However, arthropod vectors of disease soon started to develop resistance to the pesticides. Moreover, concern over the environmental side-effects from pesticides has contributed to a decrease in the development of new public health pesticides. The need to use an integrated approach including both old and new methods of mosquito control is now generally accepted (Curtis 1984, 1991; Jaenson 1991b). Biological control agents and environmental management measures are effective components of such strategies (WHO 1982). Many of the arthropod-related problems in poor urban areas are similar to those appearing under situations of war and natural disasters. The PAHO's publication on 'Emergency vector control after natural disaster' (PAHO 1982), the WHO's (1982) 'Manual on environmental management for mosquito control,' and the WHO's (1991) 'CAP guide for insect and rodent control through environmental management' provide much valuable information.
Some advantages of environmental management measures are that they are effective and have long-term effects; their long-range costs are relatively low; the additional benefits may be considerable; better housing and recreational and sanitary facilities in urban areas can contribute to social development and higher standards of living; the protection of the people from the hazards associated with the use of some chemical pesticides is not required; they can effectively contribute to the prevention and control of several vector-borne and water-associated diseases; the disadvantages of environmental management operations are mainly their capital cost, the length of time required for completion, and complexity of important works (WHO 1982). Specific measures that can be undertaken by individuals or the community against problems with bed-bugs, flies, lice, mosquitoes, rodents, solid wastes, waste-water, sanitation, and house design are given in the CAP guide (WHO 1991).
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