Thursday, October 22, 2020

Health

Gambusia fish controls the spread of malaria and dengue in Chandigarh

Yadavindra S Rana | September 30, 2020 09:45 AM

CHANDIGARH:When man’s efforts failed to provide desired results nature comes to rescue. To stop
growth of mosquitoes spreading dengue and malaria, the Chandigarh Health Department has joined
hands with the Fisheries Department to use biological control of diseases in the coming days. It has been
decided to introduce Gambusia fish in large numbers in all water points in the city to eliminate the
malaria and dengue larvae present in stagnant water points at several places across the city.
A communication was sent to the Health Department also in which the Fisheries Department
agreed to provide the Gambusia fish—also known as anti-mosquitoes fish. A list of high risk areas where
Gambusia fishes can be used has been prepared. “The department will provide the fishes in large
number so that it eats mosquito larvae present in the ponds and other places before it turns into full
frown mosquitoes, ” said the official.
The Fisheries and Animal Husbandry Department of the Chandigarh Administration has, on
Tuesday, started the campaign by introducing Gambusia fish in water points at Botanical Garden, Rose
Garden, Sector 16 and Butterfly Park, Sector 26 to feed on the larvae before it gets converted into pupae
and adult mosquito.
The official of the department has stated that it has decided to provide Gambusia fishes free-
of-cost to those who have their own ponds and added that their main stress would be in areas where
large population of migrant resides such as Khuda Ali Sher, Dharnas, Dadu Majora, Kajheri and Khuda
Jasua. He further said that it was an effort of the department to nip malaria and dengue in the bud by
using biological control along with other initiatives.
It is also stated that a Gambusia fish can eat larvae of 150 mosquitoes in eight hour while
Guppy fish eats 80 to 100 larvae in a day. 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.
Besides the health department has taken a major step of mosquito proofing in institutions and
residential area first of its kind in the region that has been a success resulting in sharp decline in cases of
malaria and dengue in the city.
A concrete water tank of 20 feet by 10 feet and 10 feet deep on the campus of DHH has
been lying discarded since long and it was renovated by sending Rs 30, 000. It is now worked as a mother
hatchery and larvae eating varieties of fish and distributed to small hatcheries at sub-divisional hospitals
and community health centres.
The first known use of Guppy fish in India for such purpose was used 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 fish to breed in water bodies surrounding the army
cantonment in Bangalore where he was posted. But despite more than a century of known use of Guppy
fish to control mosquitoes growth, the government did not scale up such prevention.

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