(James Jordan)

Smelly socks, a saviour?

26th July 2011

Tanzanian scientists are using the stench of smelly socks to lure malaria carrying mosquitoes to their death

Dr Fredros Okumu at the Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania, has developed a mosquito trap containing a smell similar to that of sweaty socks.

The trap is placed outside homes and is meant to work with bed nets and sprays that already protect people from mosquitoes carrying malaria and other diseases. Once the mosquitoes enter the trap they are killed by an insecticide or fungus.

Field tests found that the socks attracted four times as many mosquitoes than humans do – with eight out of ten preferring the stench of ten-hour-worn-in socks.

Dr Okumu has been awarded a grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada for further research and development of the traps.

Researchers at the Ifakara Health Institute came up with the idea, after seeing how attracted mosquitoes were to the smell. Local volunteers then donated socks that had been worn for at least ten hours which were placed inside boxes and laced with insecticide.

Mosquitoes, being more attracted by smell than sight, were then lured and trapped inside.

Dr Peter Singer, chief executive of Grand Challenges Canada, said, "Each year, there are almost 250 million new cases of malaria, almost 800,000 people die, and most of those deaths are children.

"This local Tanzanian innovation could contribute significantly to accelerating the elimination of malaria and save lives."

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 Your Comments (1)

  • 26th July by Sergeant_Pluck

    This local Tanzanian innovation could contribute significantly to accelerating the elimination of malaria and save lives."//

    So what, they can starve to death instead? Instead of spending the money on stopping malaria, they should be putting it into contraception awareness.

    Report as inappropriate



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