The Smell of Malaria Spreads Malaria?

Author: Mosquito Squad of Southeastern Massachusetts

“Mosquitoes love me.”

“You know, they don’t bother me that much, but they eat my kids alive.”

It’s not an uncommon discussion in summer months and you’ve probably heard one or more tale about what might or might not attract mosquitoes to you. However, you’ve probably not heard this one.

There is a new study showing mosquitoes are more attracted to people that already have malaria. Wow. That can’t be good.

The Malaria Attraction Study

Wageningen University & Research in The Netherlands, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Rothamsted Research put an international team of researchers together to study the odors that seem to make this sort of “fatal attraction” fact. The team found that there are three specific smells, in the form of aldehydes, that are very attractive to mosquitoes. Described as “fruity and grassy”, heptanal, octanal, and nonanal were recognized as these fairly common smells.

Within the study, 56 children between the ages of 5 and 12, were gathered to test their sweat and the smells that it created.

The researchers were able to chemically separate the ones that attracted the mosquitoes and the ones that did not. They found strong evidence that the children that carried Malaria possessed more of the specific aldehydes the mosquitoes were attracted to. The fact that mosquitoes are attracted to hosts with malaria can lead to a dangerous cycle of disease.

Infected mosquitoes bite, give a human malaria, non-infected mosquitoes are attracted to and bite the human, contract malaria… you get the idea.

But this information and the ability to identify the smell associated with malaria has a chance to turn it around as well. Compounds can be created to lure the mosquitoes to their death as opposed to more human victims.

Malaria on the Rise

The World Health Organization’s 2017 Malaria report has malaria on the rise in 2016 for the first time in 6 years. At Mosquito Squad of Southeastern Mass, we are serious about our desire to help end the misery that malaria is causing across the globe and we have partnered with Malaria No More to do just that. Studies like this are just another new reminder to keep fighting the good fight.

At home, we may not face a malaria threat, but West Nile and EEE continue to present an annual threat. Avoiding mosquito bites is still our best method of prevention. Our barrier spray kills 85-90% of existing mosquitoes on contact and continues to work for up to three weeks. Call us today for information about our professional mosquito prevention options and ways that you can join us in the fight against Malaria. We can’t wait to talk to you.