Fish species to spearhead fight against JE | india | Hindustan Times
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Fish species to spearhead fight against JE

GAMBUSIA AND Gappy will now spearhead the fight against mosquito-borne diseases, including the dreaded Japanese Encephalitis (JE), which claimed hundreds of lives in Gorakhpur and other districts of UP last year.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2006 01:45 IST

GAMBUSIA AND Gappy will now spearhead the fight against mosquito-borne diseases, including the dreaded Japanese Encephalitis (JE), which claimed hundreds of lives in Gorakhpur and other districts of UP last year.

In a novel initiative, the Department of Vector Borne Disease under State Medical and Health Department has issued directions to local health authorities of all the affected districts, instructing them to identify ponds and lakes for the farming of these fishes, which feed on the mosquito larvae and adult mosquitoes or sometimes both.

The Malaria Research Centre located at Hardwar in Uttranchal will provide the technical know-how and assistance needed by the district authorities for the successful breeding of these fishes.

Speaking to HT, a health official said ‘mosquito fish’ breeding was quite popular in other countries because certain species of fishes acted as biological control agent. In India, Madhya Pradesh has already included Gappi in it national vector control programme.

“The UP government has introduced this programme probably for the first time to control mosquito breeding. This programme would be launched in many parts of Uttar Pradesh especially in the Purvanchal districts where mosquito-borne diseases, including JE, are quite common. In some districts, the work has already started for identifying ponds for fish breeding,” he said.

“The two species of fishes which have been identified for breeding are Gambusia and Gappy or poecilia reliculata. Gambusia thrives in outdoor ponds and besides mosquito larvae they also feed on other harmful insects. Similarly, Gappy spawns quite quickly and they are also huge mosquito eaters,” he further said.

The technical assistance, training and other aspects of fish breeding would be handled by Dr VK Dua, senior deputy director, Malaria Research Centre-Ranipur of Hardwar in Uttaranchal.

As per the directives issued by the health director, infectious and vector-borne disease OP Pathak, officials need to identify the ponds and ensure presence of these fishes in them.

“We are also identifying the threat perception to Gamboozia and Gappi from the carnivorous fishes that may already be residing in the ponds. If carnivorous fishes exist in ponds Gamboozia and Gappi would become their food and the larva would continue to live,” said Lucknow’s district malaria officer, AK Singh, who is conducting the programme in the rural and urban area of the city.

As per the experts western part of the state suffers with the threat of dengue, while eastern part has seen the Japanese Encephalitis outbreak for last three decades and the central part of the state, including the state capital has the threat from malaria.