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Title: Role of socio-cultural and economic factors in cyprinid fish distribution networks and consumption in Lawa Lake region, Northeast Thailand: Novel perspectives on Opisthorchis viverrini transmission dynamics
Authors: Christina Sunyoung Kim
John F. Smith
Apiporn Suwannatrai
Pierre Echaubard
Bruce Wilcox
Sasithorn Kaewkes
Paiboon Sithithaworn
Banchob Sripa
Khon Kaen University
Mahidol University
Keywords: Agricultural and Biological Sciences;Immunology and Microbiology
Issue Date: 1-Jun-2017
Citation: Acta Tropica. Vol.170, (2017), 85-94
Abstract: © 2017 Elsevier B.V. Opisthorchis viverrini (Ov) is a fish-borne parasite endemic in parts of Lao PDR, Cambodia, southern Vietnam and Northeast Thailand (Isaan) where an estimated 10 million people are infected. Human Ov infection, associated with hepatobiliary complications, including cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), occurs when infected fish are consumed raw or undercooked, a longstanding cultural tradition in the region. This mixed- methods descriptive study was carried out in Isaan villages around Lawa Lake, Khon Kaen Province, known for their Ov endemicity. Focus group discussions (FGDs) and in depth interviews (IDIs) were used to explore socio-cultural determinants underlying raw fish consumption practices, and global positioning system (GPS) devices to map local fish distribution networks. Qualitative data affirmed major socio-cultural and dietary lifestyle transitions occurring consequent on recent decades of modernization policies and practices, but also the persistence of Isaan traditional raw-fish eating practices and incorrect beliefs about infection risk avoidance. Fish traders/middlemen purchase most of the catch at the lakeshore and play the dominant role in district market fish distribution networks, at least for the larger and less likely infected, fish species. The lower economic value of the small potentially-infected cyprinid fish means local fishermen typically distribute them free, or sell cheaply, to family and friends, effectively concentrating infection risk in already highly Ov infected villages. Our study confirmed the persistence of traditional Isaan raw-fish meal practices, despite major ongoing socio-cultural lifestyle transitions and decades of Ov infection health education programs. We contend that diffuse socio-cultural drivers underpin this practice, including its role as a valued cultural identity marker. A “fish economics” factor was also evident in the concentration of more likely infected fish back into local villages due to their low economic value at district market level. The complexity of factors supporting “risky” fish-eating traditions in Isaan underscores the importance of integrated liver fluke infection control strategies to draw on transdisciplinary knowledge beyond biomedicine and also embrace participatory protocols for engaging communities in developing, implementing and evaluating interventions.
ISSN: 18736254
Appears in Collections:Scopus 2016-2017

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