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Soon a mosquito trap that runs on solar electricity and mimics human odor as bait

A new type of mosquito trap that runs on solar power and the use of human scent as bait has cut mosquito populations by 70 percent in a test on an island rife with malaria in Kenya, according to a new study.

The study, published in The Lancet, also found 30 percent fewer malaria victims in houses that were booby-trapped than in those who did not. The total number of malaria cases was so small during the trial period of three years, however, the researchers did not conclude that the traps were only 30 percent effective.

Despite the pitfalls appeared very effective in reducing mosquito populations, which had some major drawbacks.

Because they need power from solar panels on the roof, which are relatively expensive. Still, the panels called on residents which will also be used to power a light bulb or charge a cell phone.

In addition, traps – which resemble screens and hang outside the house – attracted by Anopheles mosquitoes funestus, which are the vectors of the most important malaria in Rusinga Island in Lake Victoria, where the test was performed. But they do not attract or Anopheles gambiae Anopheles arabiensis, which are much more important vectors of malaria in most of Africa, where more than 400,000 children die from the disease each year.

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In addition, the necessary restrike traps regularly with a mixture of five chemical components of human odor, along with a chemical that mimicked the plume of carbon dioxide created by human breath.

Mosquitoes that carbon dioxide is formed are available in the United States, but can cost hundreds of dollars; sometimes it may require propane tanks, electricity or dry ice; and can not be effective.

The trial was led by scientists at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands, along with Kenya and Swiss scientists.

In an editorial accompanying the study praised the traps as an “innovative technology lead,” yet has “obvious shortcomings.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently tested simple bucket traps that capture egg-laying females using only water and hay and adhesive paper as bait to kill. The traps mosquito populations fell by 80 percent in the four cities of Puerto Rico, where the tests were conducted, and that seemed to cut the transmission of Chikungunya almost half. But the millions that would have been needed to combat the epidemic Zika were not ready in time.

Courtesy: NYT

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