Drinking beer outside attracts mosquitoes
As part of Healthcare Global's review of 2011's biggest news, we've revisited this story from June...
A study has found that when humans drink beer they suddenly become more attractive to mosquitoes.
It is thought that alcohol and beer create changes in humans’ odour and breath which mosquitoes find irresistible.
Researchers discovered that mosquitoes are 15 percent more likely to fly towards humans after they have had a couple of drinks because the insects are able to pick up on the subtle alterations in smells.
They also believe that mosquitoes may have learned to associate the smell of alcohol with a lack of defensiveness in humans as alcohol makes them less aware of their surroundings and any potential risks of being bitten.
There are now hopes that these findings could be used to help prevent malaria which kills 780,000 people each year on a global level.
The study was carried out in Montpellier, France by the IRD Research Centre and researchers tested their theory on Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes found in west Africa.
“To the best of our knowledge, this study provides the first evidence that beer consumption increases human attractiveness to An. gambiae, which is the principal vector of malaria in Africa,” the researchers said while writing in the Plos One journal.
“Alcohol consumption is a widespread phenomenon throughout the world and represents one of the most pressing global health priorities.”
“Therefore, the increased attractiveness following beer consumption found here raises crucial issues regarding strategic planning for malaria control,” they added.
The theory that mosquitoes can pick up smells is already being used in the potential production of preventative malaria medication.