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The role of body odours in the relative attractiveness of different men to malarial vectors in Burkina Faso

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People seem differentially attractive to mosquitoes. If this is so, key odours may exist to be exploited for sampling mosquitoes without putting men at risk in human-biting catches (HBC). To investigate this possibility, HBC and catches based on entry traps baited with the odours from the men used as bait in the HBC (OBET) were performed in parallel. In the HBC, the 'most attractive' catcher, in each of three teams of four men, collected around twice as many mosquitoes as the 'least attractive'. This differential across each team, which remained unchanged for 10 weeks, was not due to differences in catching skill because the ranking varied between the mosquito species caught. Although, when the men's odours were tested with OBET, significant ranking was still observed for catches of Anopheles gambiae s.l., this ranking was lost if the men's CO2 outputs were artificially standardized. The search for a synthetic attractant is still worthwhile, however, because: (1) there appears to be real differences between the catchers embedded in the statistical noise (there was a residual, unexplained 11% of the deviance due to the factor 'man' alone); and (2) men certainly are attractive. Meanwhile, CO2 is indicated as a surrogate bait for malarial vectors.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1997

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