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article imageInnovative billboard uses human sweat smell as a mosquito killer

By Karen Graham     Apr 26, 2016 in Technology
Brazil now has sweating billboards to add to its armory of weapons used to kill Zika virus-carrying mosquitoes. Created by advertising agencies NBS and Posterscope, the boards release a lactic acid and carbon dioxide solution that imitates human sweat.
Since 2012, Rio de Janeiro has been working on an urban beautification project in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games. Part of the work involved removing many of the beachfront billboards that blocked the scenic beauty of the coastline, according to Mother Nature News.
However, with the threat of illness from the Zika virus weighing heavily on the population and the athletes and visitors to the Olympic games in August, Brazilian health authorities have been working overtime to get the Aedes aegypti mosquito population under control.
With the Zika virus now a worldwide health emergency, many countries have been working on a vaccine, which will be good for preventing infection from the virus, but efforts to kill the Aedes mosquito, which is also a vector for dengue and yellow fever, have been difficult, at best. But a couple advertising sgencies have come to the rescue.
The billboards, created by Brazilian advertising firms NBS and out-of-home media agency Posterscope are aptly called "mosquito killer billboards." And while they are not a "silver bullet" created to eradicate the Zika virus just in time to save the Summer Olympics, the billboard"s creators are confident they will work.
The innovative billboards don't advertise cars, jewelry or fine chocolates, they just kill mosquitoes. Stylish and nondescript looking, they are meant to be placed in high-traffic areas where it is hoped they will put a dent in the mosquito population. Two have been placed in Rio de Janeiro while a third one is on the way.
The creators of the killer boards used the smell of human sweat as an attractant for the mosquitoes. They work by releasing a lactic acid solution which is found in human perspiration, and carbon dioxide, which is exhaled when humans breathe, creating a heady odor that the human flesh-loving female Aedes aegypti can't stay away from..
Once lured to the board, the mosquitoes become trapped inside and die of dehydration. The creators say the mosquito killing billboards can attract mosquitoes up to 2.5 miles away. According to the BBC, there are no plans to sell advertising space on the boards, but NBS and Posterscope developed the idea under a Creative Commons License, with the hope that others will use the inexpensive technology.
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