Edible fish feasts beats malaria

Aug 09, 2007

The emerging threat of pesticide resistance means that biological malaria control methods are once again in vogue. New research published in the online open access journal BMC Public Health shows how Nile tilapia, a fish more commonly served up to Kenyan diners, is a valuable weapon against malaria mosquitoes.

Annabel Howard and Francois Omlin from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, Kenya, introduced Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus L.), to abandoned fishponds in western Kenya. The study, funded by the Government of Finland, BioVision Foundation (Switzerland) and the Toyota Environment Foundation, monitored pond life, comparing the restocked ponds with a control pond nearby.

After 15 weeks the fish reduced both Anopheles gambiae s.l. and Anopheles funestus, the region's primary malaria vectors, by over 94 percent. The fish also decimated three quarters of the culicine mosquito population.

The findings present a win-win situation for Kenyans, who can use the fish to limit mosquito populations and gain food and income from them too. "O. niloticus fish were so effective in reducing immature mosquito populations that there is likely to be a noticeable effect on the adult mosquito population in the area," Howard says. This control method is apparently sustainable, as the fish breed and provide a continuous population. The authors also point out other benefits in their article.

There are over 2000 pediatric malaria cases annually in the Kisii Central District where the authors carried out their research. Nile tilapia's predilection for mosquitoes has been known since 1917. However this is the first field data published detailing this species' use for mosquito control.

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: Here's to wine, chocolate and a long, healthy life

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Resistance shapes the discovery of new insecticides

Feb 17, 2014

Recent news around the world has focused on the dangers of antibiotic resistance. But what of another type of resistance which can also have a huge impact on the population: that to insecticides? ...

Parasites: Rulers of the Reef

Nov 20, 2013

Because "she" spawns every fourth day, I knew she would spawn today. I rolled out of bed at the chime of my reliable Winnie the Pooh alarm clock, slid into my wetsuit, grabbed my underwater flashlight, and ...

Planning in the near term for climate change

Jun 27, 2013

When scientists talk about climate change, they usually mean significant changes in the measures of climate over several decades or longer. Climate variability generally refers to seasonal changes over a ...

Alarm over vanishing frogs in the Caribbean

Apr 10, 2013

A curtain of sound envelops the two researchers as they make their way along the side of a mountain in darkness, occasionally hacking their way with a machete to reach the mouth of a small cave.

Recommended for you

Here's to wine, chocolate and a long, healthy life

47 minutes ago

Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122, remains the oldest person on record. One might assume that she led a faultless, healthy lifestyle. Not at all. Every year on her birthday, as her celebri ...

Experts discuss communications gap on vaccines

1 hour ago

The number of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children is on the rise, and with it the incidence of preventable diseases such as measles. The health community could reverse the trend by doing a better ...

Do wearable lifestyle activity monitors really work?

14 hours ago

Wearable electronic activity monitors hold great promise in helping people to reach their fitness and health goals. These increasingly sophisticated devices help the wearers improve their wellness by constantly monitoring ...

User comments : 0