Study assesses impact of fish farming on malaria cases in the Amazon
FGV’s School of Applied Mathematics (EMAp) and Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz) held the workshop “Fish farming without Malaria” in the town of Mâncio Lima, Acre, on August 3. During the event, researchers presented the findings of a study carried out in 2017 by Fiocruz on the relationship between fish farming and the malaria epidemic. Data was also obtained for the ongoing study titled “Modeling, analysis and estimate of the contribution of fish tanks to the anopheles mosquito population and the impact on malaria transmission in the Upper Juruá, Acre”, coordinated by EMAp professor Maria Soledad Aronna and funded by FGV through the Applied Research Projects Program.
The study carried out by Fiocruz last year determined that fish farming contributes to malaria transmission in some parts of the Amazon, particularly in the Upper Juruá region, in the state of Acre. The activity is carried out in artificial tanks, which have become favorable locations for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. The research found that cleaning the borders of the cultivation tanks helps control the mosquito population, but it is a time-consuming and tiresome task, and fish farmers are not always aware of its benefits.
The applied research project funded by FGV and coordinated by professor Aronna is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Claudia Codeço (Fiocruz) and Felipe Antunes (Master’s candidate in Mathematical Modeling from EMAp), proposing the creation of a mathematical model to establish the relationship between the tanks and malaria transmission. The researchers intend to use this model to quantify the effective contribution of the tanks to the epidemic, based on a quantitative assessment of the effect that periodic tank cleaning could have in reducing malaria transmission.
The event gave researchers an opportunity to talk directly to the region’s fish farmers and obtain quantitative information to parameterize the model. The results will be used to develop educational material for fish farmers and health officials from the municipalities of Mâncio Lima, Cruzeiro do Sul and Rodrigues Alves (Acre).
“It is a well-known fact that malaria affects Brazil and its economy. In the last 14 years, 99.9% of the country’s cases have been concentrated in the Amazon region, with an average of 310,390 cases per year, and the municipalities we studied rank among the most affected in the region. To illustrate the severity of the situation, the incidence of the disease reaches 40% in the municipality of Mâncio Lima during specific periods of the year, after the excavation of fish tanks”, said professor Maria Soledad Aronna.