Last weekend at Lowlands Science, researchers from Radboudumc investigated what makes people attractive to mosquitoes. Why do some people never get stung and others are mosquito magnets? More than five hundred enthusiastic participants ventured among palm trees and mosquito nets and participated in the tropical container for mosquito research.
Participants held their arm next to a cage of mosquitoes. They could smell the arm through the thick plexiglass but could not sting it. A camera below the cage monitored whether the mosquitoes were activated and flew towards the arm. This was scored by a computer.
In addition, participants filled out a questionnaire, with questions about eating, drinking and showering, for example. The research team also further determined body temperature and alcohol level, and wiped a cotton swab over the skin, for later analysis in a laboratory. Lead researcher Felix Hol explained the study to the University of the Netherlands.
All these measurements together should reveal what makes someone a true mosquito magnet. This will give us a better understanding of mosquito behavior and possibly allow us to find natural substances that repel mosquitoes. That's important in the fight against infectious diseases, such as malaria.
Who do the mosquitoes like best?
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