Dirty socks could help fight malaria

2011-07-13 11:32
Montreal - The odour of dirty socks can be used to lure mosquitoes into a deadly trap before they can spread malaria, a US and Canadian-funded researcher based in Africa said.

Dr Fredros Okumu, of the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, discovered through an experiment that mosquitoes were more attracted to the odour of filthy feet than to live humans sleeping in the same area.

"We had an experimental house with a human being sleeping inside and a second experimental house with a synthetic mixture," he said by telephone.

"We realised that we were getting four times more mosquitoes going into the house with [the] synthetic mixture," which, when doused with insecticide, killed the bugs.

"When mosquitoes are crossing the compound, they sense something that they think it is a human being. They attempt to bite that person or that device and... instead of getting blood they get killed."

'Bold idea'

His findings have earned him a $775 000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Canadian NGO Grand Challenges to install the devices in a number of Tanzanian villages to measure their effect on public health.

The devices are to be placed outside homes in order to complement life-saving nets and repellents.

"We were attracted to that idea because it is a bold idea, it's creative, it's innovative," said Peter Singer, CEO of Grand Challenges Canada.

"Who would have thought that a life-saving technology could be lurking in your laundry basket?"

Malaria claimed 781 000 lives in 2009, according to the UN's World Health Organisation (WHO), which is heading efforts to distribute insecticide-treated mosquito nets and to spray reproduction sites.

About 90% of malaria deaths each year occur in Africa and 92% of those are children aged under 5.

Other mosquito-borne diseases include dengue, which sickens around 50 million people each year, yellow fever, filariasis and West Nile virus.

Read more on:    health  |  research
NEXT ON NEWS24X

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
10 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Top 10 richest musicians of all time

Check out the gallery to find out who they are!

 
 

Luxury living

Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Watch: Flying first class has never been this luxurious!
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Innovation, idealism, romanticism and other far reaching dreams can lead you into a spiral of enthusiasm and excitement. Somewhere...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.