10:47 18 May 2013
Research published in the journal Plos One suggests that mosquitoes which are carrying the malaria virus are more drawn to human odour compared to those that are uninfected.
The researchers studied 100 infected insects and put them all together into one container together with nylon stockings that were worn by volunteers for 20 hours.
Dr James Logan, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) explained: “It is a very effective way of collecting body odour... the odour can remain attractive for months.”
The same test was done to uninfected mosquitoes.
Researchers found that infected ones are three times more likely to be attracted to smelly socks compared to uninfected ones.
The scientists believe that this is because the mosquitoes are manipulating their hosts’ sense of smell.
Dr Logan said: “We think it is giving them a heightened sense of smell. We are hypothesising there is an alteration somewhere in their olfactory system that allows them to find us quicker.”
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