India Uses Low-Tech Method of Malaria Control: Fish that Eat Mosquitoes

An Indian malaria researcher recently reported on the success of initial pilot projects to use fish that eat mosquito larvae to control malaria.

This is a traditional method that was commonly used before the introduction of DDT in the 1950s and is once again being looked at as part of the solution to malaria.

The idea is to stock ponds, rivers and wells with fish like guppies that feed on the mosquito larvae. Dr. VP Sharma of the COuncil for Medical Research said that while the technique could not be used everywhere, in places where it was appropriate to use it had virtually eliminated a subspecies of malaria-carrying mosquito in some districts where mosquito-eating fish were introduced.

According to the BBC, Sharma credited the fish introduction program for India’s falling malaria rate which declined by about 200,000 cases per year after the program’s introduction. Sharma did add that, “It will take another five years before the real impact would be known” from the numerous fish introduction programs that the World Bank is underwriting.

Source:

Fish eat away at malaria in India. Richard Black, BBC, January 5, 2004.

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