Kenyan fish may be the answer to fight malaria

A type of fish called the Nile tilapia, which is almost a staple diet in Kenya, has proved successful in reducing the number of mosquitoes that cause malaria, according to a new study appearing in the open access journal BMC Public Health.

 Kenyan fish may be the answer to fight malaria
A type of fish called the Nile tilapia, which is almost a staple diet in Kenya, has proved successful in reducing the number of mosquitoes that cause malaria, according to a new study appearing in the open access journal BMC Public Health.

Nile tilapia is a nutritious fish, which is consumed on a large scale in Kenya. Its ability to devour malaria-causing mosquito larvae was well known, but there was a lack of field data to substantiate these claims.

The new study by researchers at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi was conducted in three ponds that acted as breeding grounds for the mosquito. These ponds were cleared of all vegetation and other fish and the tilapia was introduced into them.

After 15 weeks, it was found that the population of Anopheles gambiae s.l. and Anopheles funestus was reduced by over 94 percent. Both species of mosquitoes are linked to malaria in the region. The researchers used a control pond to compare the reduction in the mosquito population.

"A fish in the field may act differently than a fish in an aquarium and it was important to test how effective it could be," said lead researcher Francois Omlin. "The tilapia species was never tested in the field for its ability to eat mosquito larvae."

Malaria is a dangerous disease caused by a parasite that uses mosquitoes as vectors. The disease, which kills nearly one million people annually, has become endemic in some parts of Africa. The disease is not responding to the usual drug, hence researchers are looking for additional means of protection.

Jack Myers
Last Mod: 09 Ağustos 2007, 11:20
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