Researchers in California are developing a mosquito patch for testing in Africa that may help to prevent many of the dangerous illnesses that these nasty bugs carry, including dengue fever, West Nile Virus and Malaria.
After 7 years of research, a team of researchers with Olfactor Laboratories, Inc. in Riverside, California, and the University of California, Riverside have finally developed what they believe is almost the “ideal” way to keep mosquitoes at bay.
It is called the Kite patch and is meant to be used much in the way a sticker is. It uses non-toxic, FDA approved compounds that work for up to 48 hours to block the mosquitoes’ ability to track humans.
The creator of the patch is ieCrowd. They hired designers to help ensure that it will be able to stand up against some pretty harsh conditions. The company claims that this sticker is well suited to professional athletes, children in Uganda, outdoor enthusiasts, families on the soccer field and those that work in Manila suburbs.
Mosquitoes tend to track people when they exhale. We release carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes. According to the company, the Kite patch should be effective with any type of mosquito, and preliminary trials in the field have shown the patch to be effective with many different mosquito species.
In high risk areas, mosquito nets should still be used at night, but the patch is being advertised as a lotion or spray replacement.
Although Africa tends to be the hardest hit with Malaria each year, the CDC has said that an estimated 291 million people suffered from malaria in 2010. Of those cases, about 660,000 were fatal. The United States sees about 1,500 malaria cases each year, most of them found in people that have traveled to South Asia and Africa.
The Smithsonian Magazine suggests that about 20 percent of people are more likely to be bitten than the rest of the population, and it may have to do with several factors.
For instance, if you’re pregnant, you likely breathe more rapidly, and tend to be about one degree warmer, so you’re more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes. Or, if you tend to work out more, you build up lactic acid in your sweat, which makes you more appetizing to the bugs. Also, for those that have type O blood, the risk of being bitten is higher.
The bottom line when it comes to beating mosquito borne illnesses of any kind, is preventing bites as much as possible. The patches may not be available for a while, so be sure to use mosquito repellent any time you’re exposed to the outdoors to help reduce your chances of getting sick.