New Study Explains Why Some People Attract Mosquitoes More Than Others

New Study Explains Why Some People Attract Mosquitoes More Than Others

New Study Explains Why Some People Attract Mosquitoes More Than Others.

New Study Explains Why Some People Attract Mosquitoes More Than Others

If you are a mosquito magnet, there is not much you can do. “Mosquito magnets seem to remain mosquito magnets,” an expert at Florida University said.

Certain chemicals produced on the skin release a smell that attracts mosquitoes said the study.

Are you someone who is prone to be bitten by mosquitoes more than anyone else? Well, a new study published in the journal Cell found that some people are “mosquito magnets” and it has to do with the way they smell.

Researchers at The Rockefeller University, New York found people who have higher levels of carboxylic acids on their skin are 100 times more attractive to the female Aedes aegypti, the type of mosquito responsible for spreading diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and zika.

It was also found that the attractiveness of humans to mosquitoes remained steady over time, regardless of changes in diet or grooming habits.

“If you have high levels of this stuff on your skin, you’re going to be the one at the picnic getting all the bites,” said author Leslie Vosshall of The Rockefeller University in New York to Scientific American in an interview.

She added that there is folklore about who gets bitten more, but most claims are not backed up with strong scientific evidence.

Sixty four volunteers from the university were asked to wear nylon stockings around their forearms to pick up their skin smells. The stockings were put in separate traps at the end of a long tube, then dozens of mosquitos were released. Some pieces of nylon were cut and two samples from different participants at the end of a long tube were placed in a closed container full of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes for the experiment.

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Study author Maria Elena De Obaldia, said, “They (mosquitoes) would basically swarm to the most attractive subjects. It became very obvious right away.” It was noted that the biggest ‘mosquito magnet’ was around 100 times more attractive to the mosquitoes than others.

The study also concluded that mosquitos remain loyal to their favorites. Matt DeGennaro, a neurogeneticist at Florida International University who was not involved with the research, said, “Mosquito magnets seem to remain mosquito magnets.”

The researchers found a high level of acid in the skin of the favorites. These “greasy molecules” present on the skin are part of its natural moisturizing layer and different people produce them in different amounts. “The healthy bacteria that live on the skin eat up these acids and produce part of our skin’s odour profile,” Vosshall said.

The study took months and the tests were conducted multiple times. Vosshall added,  “This property of being a mosquito magnet sticks with you for your whole life-which is either good news or bad news, depending on who you are.”

Source | NDTV


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