Every time a mosquito is lured to the scent of your skin, you’re at risk of contracting malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, or another deadly disease. A study published by Cell Press December 5th in the journal Cell has revealed an important class of neurons responsible for a mosquito’s attraction to human skin odor, as well as odors that stimulate and inhibit the activity of these neurons. The findings could lead to a new generation of repellants and traps for effective mosquito control worldwide.
“These findings open up very realistic possibilities of developing ways to use simple, natural, affordable, and pleasant odors to prevent mosquitoes from finding humans,” says senior study author Anandasankar Ray of the University of California Riverside.
“The powerful experimental approaches we have developed will help us find potential solutions that we could use not only here in the United States but also in Africa, Asia, and South America, where affordability is key in the war against these diseases.” Read more