Introducing the new mosquito invisibility cloak

Added 13/09/2013

Would you like to become invisible to mosquitos? The good news is that this ability might not be as farfetched as you think - and if they don’t know we’re there they won’t bite us!

Having researched why some people are more attractive to mosquitos than others, a group of scientists in America have found that a naturally occurring chemical in human skin could act as a mosquito repellent, effectively rendering us ‘invisible’ to the insects.

The team recorded that when a hand which was covered in the chemical was inserted into a container full of mosquitos it was completely ignored.

The chemical compound blocks the mosquito’s sense of smell which makes them unaware that we are there and could potentially be added to cosmetics and other lotions in the future.

With standard deet based mosquito repellents reported to be losing their effectiveness this could be great news for those of us who have to put up with mosquito bites when we go on holiday.

It is even better news for doctors and scientists who are battling to control deadly diseases, such as malaria, which is spread by the insects.

In 2010 the World Health Organisation estimated that as many as 660,000 people were killed by Malaria, which means a new repellent which is more effective and affordable would be of great benefit to travellers and people living in disease endemic countries.

Although it could take many years for a new type of repellent to become available it is encouraging to know that progress is being made in the fight against this deadly disease carrying insect.

To check whether your holiday destination is at risk of malaria check the travel advice pages on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website.

The FCO also advises that you buy travel insurance every time you travel so that you are not left to cope alone if you do become ill. Travel insurance will give you access to an emergency medical support line which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from anywhere in the world. They can liaise with local doctors to help you get the treatment you need and authorise payment so that you won’t face any large medical bills.

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