Last year, I wrote a blog about anti-mosquito laser defense systems. It seemed like a bizarre and overly-sophisticated malaria prevention strategy, but it showed promising results.
This year, researchers are taking a different approach. According to an article in The Washington Post, public health researchers are trying to tap into the hidden potential of your smelly socks as a means of capturing mosquitoes. A comparative field test is currently underway in Ifakara, a town just outside the Selous Game Reserve, to determine whether natural human foot odor, collected in used socks, creates a more potent attraction for mosquitoes than synthetic chemical odors. The final step in the process is to contaminate those socks with a fungus that kills mosquitoes before the malaria-causing Plasmodium falciparum is ready to infect a new human host.
So forget laser defense and expensive prophylactics. It turns out your socks are more than the laundry attendant's worse nightmare, they're the mosquitoes' worse nightmare too.