Using a Fish Army to fight Dengue

In what has to be one of the strangest public health strategies to date, health officials in the Punjab districts of Pakistan have released over a million Tilapia into pools, ponds, large puddles – just about any body of standing water – in an effort to combat dengue. Pakistan has a long rainy season which creates thousands of pools of water where the mosquitoes who carry dengue lay their eggs. By releasing the fish into these pools, the larvae are eaten before they can hatch, killing the virus’ vector and preventing its spread.

While it may be tempting to dismiss the strategy as a bizarre version of the woman-who-swallowed-the-fly nursery rhyme, don’t – apparently, it’s working. In 2011, the Punjab districts had over 20,000 cases of dengue, including 300 fatalities. So far this year, following the release of over 1.6 million fish, there have been just 100 cases total.  The question of what happens to the fish when the pools evaporate has not yet been addressed, but we’re still impressed – can you imagine having to pitch this idea to your superiors?

Read more about this very innovative use of fish at the Guardian.

(Image: Tilapia farmer in Pakistan, courtesy of USDA/Flickr)

2 thoughts on “Using a Fish Army to fight Dengue

  1. What is not included on the suggested to-do-lists, teaching citizens the two simplist home cures for dengue fever. The papaya leaf extract cure (PLXC) has been scientifically researched and endorsed by the King Institute Of Preventive Medicine And Research and Ayurveda Researchers. Read these two articles published in The Times Of India, Home cure for dengue death sting- 12 December 2012 and Neem-papaya juice passes dengue test- 20 December 2012. When we educate citizens in their own communities, poor or rich, only then will we win the battle against dengue fever.
    The easiest to prepare is the sweet potato tea cure, known in the Philippines as the camote tea cure (CTC). Boil the leaves of sweet potatoes, 5/min, let cool if fever is present, drink as without adding any thing to the tea, 3x/day, for as many days as deemed necessary. Both these cures rapidly raise platelet and red blood cell counts.
    Each morning for breakfast, I drink a cup of either sweet potato tea , or papaya tea brewed from fresh leaves picked, sun dried, and hand crushed. These are preventatives and cures we all need to know.


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