Ethiopian and Swedish scientists discovered that malarial mosquitoes tend to avoid chickens and other birds.
experiments, conducted in western Ethiopia, included suspending a live
chicken in a cage near a volunteer sleeping under a bed net.
Last year malaria killed nearly 400,000 people in Africa
and death rates are declining but health officials are continuing to
look for new ways to prevent the spread of the disease.
The malaria parasite, which initially hides in the liver before going
bloodstream, is carried from person to person by mosquitoes
when they drink blood.
The scientists, whose research was published in the Malaria Journal,
concluded that as mosquitoes use their sense of smell to locate an
animal they can bite there must be something in a chicken's odour that
puts the insects off.
Addis Ababa University's Habte Tekie, who
worked on the research, said that the compounds from the smell of the
chicken can be extracted and could work as a repellent.
Field trials for this stage of the research are now "in the pipeline.
Compounds extracted from chicken feathers were also used in the experiments, as well as live chickens.
discovered that the use of the chicken and the compounds "significantly
reduced" the number of mosquitoes that were found in the trap nearby.
scientists say that with reports that some mosquitoes are developing
resistance to insecticide "novel control methods" need to be embraced.
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