Mosquitoes Love How We Smell, But Even Just Swatting At Them Can Deter Them From Snacking On You
Scientists found that mosquitoes may learn to associate vibrations from swatting with a person's smell, which can turn them off from trying to feed in that environment if there is a friendlier one nearby.
The New York Times:
Swatting At Mosquitoes May Help You Avoid Bites, Even If You Miss
If you keep swatting at a mosquito, will it leave you alone?Some scientists think so. But it depends. Some blood meals are worth a mosquito risking its life. But if there’s a more attractive or accepting alternative to feed from, a mosquito may move on to that someone or something instead. That’s because if you keep trying and missing, the mosquito may learn to associate your swatting vibrations with your scent, a study published Thursday in Current Biology suggests. And it just may remember: This is not a person who will tolerate me. (Klein, 1/25)
Scientists Have Found A Way To Make You Less Attractive To Mosquitoes — No Chemicals Needed
"Some people are super-attractors for mosquitoes," Riffell says, "while other people aren't attractive at all, and the mosquitoes will avoid them. "Now Riffell says he has come up with a way to teach mosquitoes to hate your smell so they leave you alone. "Swat them!" he exclaims. Just wave your hands and arms all around the buggers. You don't even need to touch them. (Doucleff, 1/25)
In other news, data suggests that there were women who were infected with Zika while pregnant but weren't diagnosed —
More Birth Defects In U.S. Areas With Zika: U.S. Health Officials
The mosquito-born Zika virus may be responsible for an increase in birth defects in U.S. states and territories even in women who had no lab evidence of Zika exposure during pregnancy, U.S. health officials said on Thursday. Areas in which the mosquito-borne virus has been circulating, including Puerto Rico, southern Florida and part of south Texas, saw a 21 percent rise in birth defects strongly linked with Zika in the last half of 2016 compared with the first half of that year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its weekly report on death and disease. (Steenhuysen, 1/25)
Zika Caused More Birth Defects Than Anticipated In U.S.
The incidence rate of birth defects "strongly linked" to Zika infection in areas with local transmission of the virus—which include South Florida, parts of south Texas and Puerto Rico—rose by 21% in the latter half of 2016 compared to the first half of that year. Birth defects considered "strongly linked" to Zika infection include such conditions as brain abnormalities, microcephaly, eye abnormalities and central nervous system dysfunction (Johnson, 1/25)