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Scientists to study mosquitoes troubling city

mumbai Updated: Aug 12, 2010 01:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Parel has mostly aedes mosquitoes that spread dengue whereas Chunabhatti has more of anopheles mosquitoes, which carry the malaria parasite.

This is a preliminary observation of scientists at the Haffkine Institute in Parel, who have been collecting mosquitoes from various parts of central Mumbai to understand which species and sub-species are dominant. "We decided to conduct this internal research because of the spurt in malaria cases," said Dr Abhay Choudhary, director of Haffkine.

Researchers are collecting mosquitoes to know which species are present, which stage they are in (eggs, larvae or adult mosquitoes) and to figure out the vector density in the areas. Since different measures are used to control larvae and adult mosquitoes, the mapping could help.

"Tests will tell us what proportion of the collected mosquitoes are carrying the malaria parasite," said Dr Choudhary. The study was being done for academic reasons, he said.

Haffkine Institute has been testing pesticides developed by various companies for 60 years and has a collection of mosquitoes, cockroaches, houseflies and termites. The institute certifies these products, which include mosquito repellant creams and sprays, based on their efficacy before they hit the market.

The civic body is planning to send a mosquito larvicidal oil, procured from a private company called Dapmans, to Haffkine to test its potency. "When this oil is sprayed on stagnant water, it forms a film and prevents larvae growth," said Dr Arun Bamne, BMC’s insecticide officer.

Haffkine's zoonosis department is also studying whether detergent powder and liquid soap can control mosquito breeding. "We want to see if putting a pinch of cheap household products like detergent and soap can control larvae growth," said Dr Ramaiya Mira, head of the zoonosis department.