Malaria is endemic in the Chittagong Hill Districts of southeastern Bangladesh. Previous epidemiological analyses identified the agricultural practice of jhum cultivation as a potential risk factor for malaria infection. We conducted qualitative interviews with jhum cultivators and surveillance workers to describe jhum cultivation and used demographic and malaria surveillance in two study unions from May of 2010 to August of 2012 to better understand the relationship between jhum cultivation and malaria infection. Qualitative interviews revealed that jhum cultivation is conducted on remote, steep hillsides by ethnic tribal groups. Quantitative analyses found that adult jhum cultivators and individuals who live in the same residence had significantly higher incidence rates of symptomatic Plasmodium falciparum infection compared with non-cultivators. These results confirm that jhum cultivation is an independent risk factor for malaria infection and underscore the need for malaria testing and treatment services to reach remote populations in the Chittagong Hill Districts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases