Malaria, environmental change, and an [corrected] historical epidemiology of childhood 'cold fevers': popular interpretations from southwestern Burkina Faso

Health Place. 2011 May;17(3):836-42. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2011.03.007. Epub 2011 Mar 26.


We examine how southwestern Burkina Faso populations interpret political ecological and social change for the past 40 years to assert a changing epidemiology of childhood "cold fevers"-malaria-like illnesses. Lay knowledge about "cold fevers" is historically produced, reflecting political economic, social, ecological and biomedical changes, and the historical consciousness of people living with these illnesses. While informants insisted that dislocations wrought by a post-colonial irrigation scheme increased cold fevers, they offered different explanations for their increased incidence and intensity. This historical epidemiology of cold fevers may influence parents' care decisions, but global public health interventions are rapidly changing therapeutic access.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Burkina Faso / epidemiology
  • Environmental Exposure / history*
  • Female
  • Fever / epidemiology
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Malaria / epidemiology*
  • Malaria / history
  • Male
  • Public Health
  • Social Conditions