Can a certain fish help tackle the Zika virus?

The fish will help in the areas near the waterways

(CNN) – “The minnows are here.” Larry Resch doesn’t usually keep a lot of gambusia, or mosquitofish, in stock at the Aquatic Design Aquariums. “We can even see the females are way bigger than the males.”

However, this shipment of thousands of them won’t be the last, now that the threat of Zika virus has calls coming in asking for the mosquito killers. Resch said, “They’re hunters, and they’ll take every larva out of a body of water.”

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With new information coming in daily on Zika and the link to severe birth defects, public health officials are looking to do all they can to fight the outbreak; “And West Nile, it’s not gone away just because Zika is here, so both of them can be controlled by eliminating the larva,” said Resch.

That’s what Plano hopes to do by releasing Resch’s latest shipment of mosquitofish into city waterways. It’s part of a combined approach along with larvacide and spraying. According to Plano Environmental Health Director Rachel Patterson, “This actually will get rid of thousands of larva at one time, so it’s just a very nice, natural way to do that.”

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Patterson said the fish will help in the areas near the waterways, but homeowners still need to eliminate standing water in their yards.

They can also get their own mosquitofish to put to work themselves. Resch said, “If you have a water feature, koi don’t prey on them, goldfish, which are the two most popular pond fish, they’ll live perfectly fine with them.”

Officials note that the public can also help stop Zika in its tracks. You should cover up and wear mosquito repellent whenever you are outside.

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