The Ministry of Health has added another weapon to its arsenal in the fight against the Aedes aegypti mosquito, with the opening of a fish rearing facility at Graeme Hall, Christ Church.
Eighteen tanks have been set up at the facility to rear guppies, tilapia and swordfish, which when fully grown will be placed in wetlands and other potential mosquito breeding sites across Barbados.
Minister of Health John Boyce, at the opening of the facility last Friday, said the aim was to utilise green energy resources offered by the sun to provide clean energy in the rearing of mosquito larvae-eating fish.
He welcomed the initiative, noting that mosquitoes had been responsible for morbidity among thousands of Barbadians over the years through the transmission of various diseases.??He stated that dengue fever was now endemic in Barbados, and more recently, the chikungunya and Zika viruses had emerged.
He revealed that at the end of April this year, the Ministry recorded 18 confirmed cases of dengue fever and 474 suspected cases. There were no confirmed cases of chikungunya but 74 cases were suspected and there were 18 confirmed cases of Zika and 763 suspected cases.
The construction of a facility to provide fish to assist in the biological control of mosquitoes was therefore timely, Mr. Boyce said, and he thanked everyone involved in the conceptualisation and completion of the project, including the environmental health officers at Graeme Hall led by Denis Mascoll; the Global Environment Facility of the World Health Organisation; and the Pan American Health Organisation.
He added that the Environmental Health Department of the Ministry of Health could now boast to be an established point of distribution of another biological mosquito control to communities and localities across the island.