Killer coastal fish to combat Japanese encephalitis – The Times of IndiaPosted: May 25, 2012
“Bringing Gambusia against mosquitoes is like launching a biological attack on disease-causing vector. Mosquito control is important to check both japanese and acute encephalitis,” said Mukesh Meshram, NRHM mission director in the state. “Gambusia is a surface feeder, hence it is suitable for feeding on both malaria-causing mosquitoes (anophelines) and common house mosquito (culicines),” he added.
The cost of running the project in 20 encephalitis-hit districts of eastern UP is a meager Rs 39 lakh per annum. As per the project mooted by the state fisheries department, the government would buy these fish from Bengal, Gujarat and Maharashtra at a rate of Rs 4 per unit to be fertilized at 100 primary and community health centres in these districts. The full-grown fish would be released in drains, ponds and other places where water naturally gets accumulated and allows mosquitoes to breed freely.
UP is not the only state banking on this little fish for mosquito control. In fact, it is also known as the mosquito fish. In a set of guidelines issued by the National Vector-Borne Diseases Control Programme, the ministry of health has advocated the use of Gambusia for control of mosquito population. Not only this, vector control agencies across the world also rely on the cod for getting rid of the mosquito menace. “Gambusia Affini are indispensible to modern mosquito control programmes,” reads an American health advisory.