Wearable device may offer protection against Zika mosquitoes

New York, Feb 3 (IANS) A wearable device could be an effective tool for preventing bites from the Aedes aegypti mosquito — the primary vector of Zika, chikungunya, dengue, and yellow fever, say researchers.

The “OFF! Clip-On” device repels mosquitoes by releasing a vapour form of insecticide through a battery-powered fan, forming an insecticide “cloud” around the wearer of the device.

In order to test the effectiveness of the device, Christopher Bibbs and Rui-De Xue of the Anastasia Mosquito Control District in Florida, US studied how the device performed against hungry Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

The study was done outdoors in order to replicate real-world conditions.

They found that the OFF! Clip-On caused high mosquito mortality and knockdown rates up to 0.3 metres from the device, enough to protect a single person wearing the device.

The effectiveness of the device came as a pleasant surprise to the researchers.

“In vector control, we see more often than not that tools available for consumers do not work for the intended purpose,” Bibbs said.

“Just look at all the bug zappers, repellent bracelets, sonic bug repellents, and other zany creations that wax and wane in popularity. Skepticism is inherent to the trade. But it was nice for a change of pace that one of these devices could actually do some good,” Bibbs noted.

The findings appeared in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

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