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Cheap tire innovation could boost Zika control

An Aedes Aegypti mosquito is photographed on human skin in a lab of the International Training and Medical Research Training Center (CIDEIM) on January 25, 2016, in Cali, Colombia. CIDEIM scientists are studying the genetics and biology of Aedes Aegypti mosquito which transmits the Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue and Yellow Fever viruses, to control their reproduction and resistance to insecticides. The Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease suspected of causing serious birth defects, is expected to spread to all countries in the Americas except Canada and Chile, the World Health Organization said. AFP PHOTO/LUIS ROBAYO / AFP / LUIS ROBAYO        (Photo credit should read LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images)

An Aedes Aegypti mosquito is photographed on human skin in a lab of the International Training and Medical Research Training Center (CIDEIM) on January 25, 2016, in Cali, Colombia. CIDEIM scientists are studying the genetics and biology of Aedes Aegypti mosquito which transmits the Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue and Yellow Fever viruses, to control their reproduction and resistance to insecticides. The Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease suspected of causing serious birth defects, is expected to spread to all countries in the Americas except Canada and Chile, the World Health Organization said. AFP PHOTO/LUIS ROBAYO / AFP / LUIS ROBAYO (Photo credit should read LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images)

Researchers said Thursday they have found a way to fashion a cheap mosquito trap out of old tires that can collect thousands of eggs that may carry the Zika virus.

The contraption is called an “ovillanta”, and consists of cutout tires and a liquid solution that lures Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which can transmit chikungunya, dengue and Zika.

The females lay their eggs on a wooden or paper strip inside the tire trap. The strip can be removed weekly and the eggs destroyed by using fire or ethanol.

Health experts are hopeful that the trap could help people in remote areas where screens and air conditioning are rare, to reduce people’s contact with the kind of mosquitoes that spread Zika, a virus that has been linked to a surge of birth defects in Brazil.

“We decided to use recycled tires — partly because tires already represent up to 29 percent of the breeding sites chosen by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, partly because tires are a universally affordable instrument in low-resource settings, and partly because giving old tires a new use creates an opportunity to clean up the local environment,” said researcher Gerardo Ulibarri of Laurentian University in Ontario.

Researchers tested the traps in the Guatemalan town of Sayaxche over the course of 10 months.

They “collected and destroyed over 18,100 Aedes eggs per month using 84 ovillantas in seven neighborhoods,” said the study.

This was “almost seven times the roughly 2,700 eggs collected monthly using 84 standard traps (made from one-liter buckets) in the same study areas.”

The tire traps were also far cheaper, costing only 20 percent what it would to target adult insects with pesticides, researchers said.

The project was funded by the Canadian government.

Ulibarri collaborated with Angel Betanzos and Mireya Betanzos of the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico, and Guatemala’s Ministry of Health.

The milk-based solution used to attract the mosquitoes was developed by Laurentian University.

Researchers have also released a how-to video (bit.ly/1S3YFjH) for making the traps.



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