Friday, October 22, 2021

Chandigarh

Gambusia fish will nip malaria and dengue in the bud in Chandigarh

YS RANA | October 02, 2021 01:41 PM

CHANDIGARH: The Chandigarh Health Department in association with the fisheries department and forest department of Chandigarh Administration has used biological control of malaria and dengue in the city. The Health Department and Fisheries Department have released Gambusia fish in various water bodies across the city on Friday. The malaria and dengue larvae present in stagnant water points at several places in the city and Gambusia fish eliminate the larvae of malaria and dengue.

The Fisheries Department has been providing the fishes—also known as anti--mosquito fishes. The department has identified high risk areas where Gambusia fishes can be used. The official of the fisheries department said that department would provide the fishes to that they could end the mosquito larvae present in large number in ponds and other places in the city.

The official further stated that the department would provide Gambusia fishes free-of-cost to those who have their own ponds and added that their main stress would be in the areas where large population of migrant reside such as Khuda Ali Sher, Dhanas, Dadu Majra, Kajheri and Khuda Jasua.

The city has few cases of malaria and dengue which was the lowest for the past 10 years. The main purpose of the department was on source reduction of mosquito breeding and it could be done either to fill all stagnated water points or biological control supported by other initiatives. He also revealed that in the recent past the department has taken a major step of mosquito proofing in institutions, first of its kind in the region on trial basis that had paid dividend.

A concrete water tank of 20 feet by 10 feet and 10 feet deep on campus of DHH has been lying discarded since long. It was renovated with a cost of Rs 30, 000 in 2016. It is working as a mother hatchery in Chandigarh and larvae eating varieties of fish and distributed to small hatcheries at sub divisional hospitals and community health centres.

As many as 1500 fish fry of Gambhusia and Guppy have been released into the tank and both feed on the larvae before it gets converted into pupae and adult mosquito. A Gambusia fish eats between 100 to 300 larvae a day while Guppy fish eats 80 to 100 larvae per day.

The first known use of Guppy fish in India for such prupose was done in 1908 when a British army officer who had suffered frequent mosquito bites brought the fish from England. The officer, remembered as Major Selvy introduced the Guppy to breed in water bodies surrouding the Army cantonment in Bangalore where he was posted. But despite more than a century of known use of the Guppy to control malaria, the government did not scale up such prevention. But now the Administration seems to wake up for the fight.

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