Smelly Socks Ward Off Mosquitoes
by Kaylee Brunton, age 9
Did you know that mosquitoes can carry a deadly disease called malaria?
Malaria is a disease that is spread by infected mosquitoes and can infect humans. Symptoms of malaria include chills, fever, and vomiting.
Malaria can exist in moderate climates, but it is known to be more severe in tropical and sub-tropic climates, like those found in Africa. In some of the places where malaria is more severe, the people have limited access to the right medication to treat it. The disease is very contagious and can travel quickly, infecting a whole population.
Researchers have found that unsuspecting smelly socks could play an important role in helping to fight malaria. They found that the scent of stinky socks attracts mosquitoes and they are trying to use this scent to attract and trap mosquitoes.
Dr. Fredros Okumu is the leader of the project at Tanzania’s Ifakara Health Institute that is conducting research to develop these new mosquito traps. Okumu has made a mixture using eight chemical compounds to make a scent that will lure mosquitoes into a poisonous trap.
Tests have shown that traps with the smelly sock scent attracted four times as many mosquitoes than a human volunteer. Okumu is working to make the traps costs anywhere from $4 - $27.
[Source: Time for Kids]