Tanzanian Innovation Using Human Scent As Mosquito Bait


s12936-015-1013-8-2Researchers at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania have come up with a box that uses human scent to trap and kill mosquitoes at night. The Mosquito Landing box (MLB) insures full malaria protection for people working and resting outdoors.

While mosquito nets and insecticide spraying in homes have helped in battling the disease, the challenge is what happens when people are outdoors. In rural African areas, especially, where it’s not unusual for communities to cook or socialize outside, these tools have proven to be limited deterrents.

The Mosquito Landing Box emits a smell that attracts Anopheles mosquitoes, which can transmit malaria. Once inside the box, the insects are infected with deadly fungi or covered in insecticide, or electrocuted if the box is hooked up to solar panels and a battery. The device was developed by researchers at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania.

Once lured into the boxes, MLB traps and kills them using either deadly fungi or insecticide. The tool can also electrocute trapped mosquitos, if solar powered or connected to a battery. The researchers found that the MLB boxes that used insecticide were more effective than the one imbued with the fungi boasting a 63% and 43% killing rate respectively.

At a cost of between $100-150, the synthetic smell lasts for about a month. One of the lead researchers on the project Arnold Mmbando told SciDev.net they are “looking for funding and partners to scale up production and sell it to other countries.”

Over the past decade and a half, significant progress has been made in tackling Malaria’s deadly effects. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global infections of the disease have fallen by 37% with mortality down 60% since 2000. While curable, efforts to produce a vaccine have yet to be successful, making preventive innovations like the MLB all the more important.

Read More: Malaria Journal