Mosquitoes Love Beer Drinkers

3/7/2010

Birmingham Science News Examiner Paul Hamaker

Scientists from France, Canada, and Africa have determined that the primary malaria insect carrier in Africa is more likely to bite people who drink beer. The research was reported at PLOS One on March 4, 2010. A mosquito is the primary malaria carrier in Africa because the mosquito prefers to feed on humans. The mosquitoes are attracted by a variety of body odors including breath. Fifty adult males aged between 20 and 43 years in good health and not using any medication volunteered for the experiment. One group drank the local beer and one drank water. The beer drinkers attracted forty-seven to sixty-five percent more mosquitoes than the water drinkers in a statistically controlled experiment. The volunteers were not directly exposed to the possibility of being bitten by the mosquitoes.
The reason the mosquitoes were more highly attracted to beer drinkers is not clear. Malaria is a potentially deadly disease in Africa. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the majority of malaria cases in the United States result from travel to countries where malaria is not controlled. Alabama even had 9 cases of malaria reported in 2007. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsMalariaSurveillance/ Avoid drinking beer if you are traveling to a country where malaria is common. You can send the beer to me. Prevent disease and reduce the number of alcoholic mosquitoes at the same time.

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