Gambusia fish that are known to feed on mosquito larvae are being used to help arrest the spread of dengue and malaria in the water bodies in Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh.
The gambusia fish are being roped in to battle the fevers. All photos: Ajay Mishra
Kanauj, Uttar Pradesh
Fevers are rampant in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and other parts of the country, where the spectre of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria looms large. Reports of children falling sick, and some even dying, are pouring in, especially from Firozabad district in Uttar Pradesh.
Besides fogging and draining stagnant pools of water, a novel and non-chemical weapon is now being used against mosquitoes.
The gambusia fish, more popularly known as mosquito fish, are being roped in to battle the fevers. They are being released into ponds, lakes and other water bodies in Kannauj as they consume the larvae of mosquitoes. Similar initiative is underway in Firozabad where at least 62 people, mostly children, have died due to ‘fever’ believed to be a dengue outbreak.
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“We have asked for gambusia fish from Badaun district and we are releasing them into ponds,” Rakesh Mishra, district magistrate, Kannauj told Gaon Connection. The fish are usually sourced from West Bengal.
The associate director of the fisheries department, Kanpur, and additional in-charge of the department in Kannauj and Farrukhabad, NK Agarwal, wrote on September 13 to the concerned officials, dealing with malaria in the districts informing them about the advantages of introducing the gambusia fish into the water bodies.
“Gambusia feeds on mosquito larvae. So, wherever there is stagnant water, breeding of mosquitoes and a history of malaria and Japanese encephalitis, introducing gambusia to those areas can combat the diseases,” Agarwal wrote in his letter.
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According to him, the gambusia is not easily available in Uttar Pradesh and has to be procured from Kolkata in West Bengal. Depending on the size of the water body, anything between 200 to 500 gambusia fish are required to rid the water of mosquito larvae, he said.
“Fish are being procured to be introduced into water bodies in the areas in Kannauj where dengue is extant,” Raghavendra Narayan Singh, Chief Development Officer, Kannauj, told Gaon Connection. According to him, one packet of fish has about 200 fishes, and the government rate for them is Rs 2 per fish.
Several lakes and ponds in Kannauj corporation limits have been earmarked where the gambusia fish will be introduced, Singh added.
Also Read: After dengue outbreak in Firozabad, malaria raises its ugly head in rural Uttar Pradesh
Many people across Uttar Pradesh are down with dengue, malaria and other vector borne diseases, and many have died. Government hospitals are overwhelmed with the number of patients waiting to be treated there. Private nursing homes are no better. According to data from the CMOs office, between September 1 and 28, in Kannauj district, 7890 people reported having fever, of which 333 had dengue. There are still 1936 active cases in the district while 5954 have recovered. There was no data available from the private hospitals.
Read the story in Hindi.