To avoid malaria, try sleeping with a chicken at your bedside

July 22, 2016

Ethiopian Ministry of Health is concerned with malaria, which leads to about 5 million cases and 70,000 deaths a year. In a western part of the country humans and animals often share living space, and such a trend may save lives, says professor Ignell at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science. Having a chicken at your bedside, an Ethiopian may avoid malaria, sys professor’s study.

Swedish scientist noted an interesting fact, being studied cases of malaria in western Ethiopia. People share living with animals, the latter bitten by mosquitos, and the insects may be infected with malaria. Do home animals attract the insects, and if so, do other animals repel mosquitos?

Ignell needed to know how to prevent spreading malaria and how to decrease cases of biting by an insects Anopheles arabiensis, a major malaria-carrying species of mosquitoes in Ethiopia. It turned out those insects bit most animals — with one exception: chickens. Trapped 1,172 Anopheles arabiensis in the Ethiopian villages had a blood meal, but only one from these quantity has bitten a chicken.

As noted Ignell, it’s a common practice in Ethiopia when “a caged chicken sleeping with you can actually reduce the number of mosquitoes in the house.” In fact, mosquitos bite chicken, but prefer to avoid them, why? Ignell’s team tried to extract an odour of chicken, and thousands of human volunteers were solicited to act as mosquito bait. They slept in a room odored differently: cattle or sheep, goats or chickens.

As a result, odor smelled like chickens guaranteed from 90 to 95 percent reduction in mosquito counts. The same result Ethiopians got while sleeping with the caged chicken in their bedrooms. According to Ignell, the investigation the effects of inoffensive odors on mosquitoes is going on.