MANILA, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Raising larvae-eating guppy fish can help contain the spread of dengue, according to a recent joint study presented Thursday by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dengue is usually spread by a specific mosquito that breeds readily in standing water. The WHO-ADB study which was presented to the media in ADB's headquarters in Manila revealed that introducing guppies in water storage tanks can reduce the number of mosquito larvae.
This is because guppies eat larvae that grow into mosquitoes that bite humans and transmit dengue.
"This is a low-cost, year-round, safe way of reducing the spread of dengue in which the whole community can participate," ADB health specialist Gerard Servais said in a statement.
The study is a result of a community-based project conducted in Cambodia and Laos from 2009 to 2011.
The trial showed that guppies do not harm water quality and can survive on microscopic organic material in the absence of mosquito larvae.
"The project was successful in mobilizing communities with widespread grassroots participation, and high levels of acceptance of the fish as an effective way of reducing the spread of dengue," said Dr. Eva Christophel, a WHO specialist in vector-borne diseases.
Around 2.5 billion people worldwide are at risk of contracting dengue, most of whom live in the Asia-Pacific region. The ADB said rapid urbanization and the increased usage of non-biodegradable packaging, which can act as a water reservoir for dengue mosquito breeding, led to rising dengue cases.