Beer Consumption Increases Human Attractiveness to Malaria Mosquitoes
Methodology/principal findings: We used a Y tube-olfactometer designed to take advantage of the whole body odour (breath and skin emanations) as a stimulus to gauge human attractiveness to Anopheles gambiae (the primary African malaria vector) before and after volunteers consumed either beer (n = 25 volunteers and a total of 2500 mosquitoes tested) or water (n = 18 volunteers and a total of 1800 mosquitoes). Water consumption had no effect on human attractiveness to An. gambiae mosquitoes, but beer consumption increased volunteer attractiveness. Body odours of volunteers who consumed beer increased mosquito activation (proportion of mosquitoes engaging in take-off and up-wind flight) and orientation (proportion of mosquitoes flying towards volunteers' odours). The level of exhaled carbon dioxide and body temperature had no effect on human attractiveness to mosquitoes. Despite individual volunteer variation, beer consumption consistently increased attractiveness to mosquitoes.
Conclusions/significance: These results suggest that beer consumption is a risk factor for malaria and needs to be integrated into public health policies for the design of control measures.
PLoS One . 2010 Mar 4;5(3):e9546. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009546.