Author Topic: Fresh report shows Malaria Mosquitoes now Repelled by Chickens odor  (Read 223 times)

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If you live in sub-Saharian Africa in a malaria endemic area, it might not be such a crazy idea to sleep next to a chicken. It turns out some mosquitoes are repelled by the odor of chickens, potentially offering another cheap protection method against the mosquito-borne illness. 

Most mosquitoes, including those that carry the often-deadly malaria parasite, like to bite humans. They transmit the disease through a blood meal.

They also take blood meals occasionally from cattle, goats and sheep. But they are selective feeders. Mosquitoes dont like the taste of chicken blood, so poultry rarely gets bitten.

Swedish researchers made the discovery in field studies in Ethiopia. They set up traps to capture the most common mosquito in the area, Anopheles arabiensis, in 11 houses in Addis Ababa.

Investigators then tested the blood inside the mosquitoes, finding blood from all sorts of animals. But rarely was there any blood from chickens.

That begs the question: Should people in malaria endemic regions sleep next to a chicken? Its a joke that Rickert Ignell hears all the time.

Oh yes. We do that all the time [make jokes] ... and the joke is also that people should carry a chicken around to protect themselves against malaria.  But it hasnt really caught on.

Ignell is a professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, interested in studying the chemical attraction of disease-carrying insects, including malaria mosquitoes.

In those 11 houses, Ignell recruited 11 volunteers to sleep under untreated bed nets with traps, baited with chicken compounds, nearby. 

According to Ignell, One of the tests we did was to actually suspend a chicken next to the traps that we used. And we actually saw about a 95 percent reduction in the trap capture. Indicating that chickens and chicken odors alone could actually repel the mosquitoes from the houses.


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