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MedWorld: Feature

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Malaria Mosquitos Favor Sweaty Feet

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By Paul Wheeler

October 23, 1995


Researchers in Amsterdam found that sweaty feet and smelly Dutch cheese whet the appetites of malaria mosquitos. In a test involving people with washed and unwashed feet, malaria mosquitos showed a clear preference for the scent found on human feet. Furthermore, the Dutch entymologists discovered that these mosquitos were equally attracted to a piece of strongly-scented, ripe Dutch Limburger cheese. According to the scientists this makes sense because Limburger - a pungent, white, soft cheese - smells a lot like the 'toe cheese' found between human toes.

Unfortunately, no matter how much you wash your feet, you'll never be able to completely get rid of the smell because its simply a basic human smell. Hence, washing feet more often is probably not a plausible defense against malaria.

So, what does this study have to do with you? Well, researchers hope that one day they can reproduce the odor artifically and use them in making better mosquito traps.

So till then, keep those feet clean and lay off on the cheese.







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