Researchers have touted a new wearable device to be an effective tool for preventing the spread of the now famous Zika virus.
The Zika virus according to reports, originated from Uganda in Africa. It causes a usually mild illness known as Zika fever in humans. It has also been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains.
The World Health Organization is worried that Zika is spreading far and fast, with devastating consequences. The alarming and disturbing infection, is spreading through the Americas. Some areas have declared a state of emergency over the infection.
However an “OFF Clip-On” device has been found to combat the spread of the virus efficiently, recent findings in the Journal of Medical Entomology say.
The wearable device works majorly by preventing bites from the Aedes aegypti mosquito – the primary vector of Zika, chikungunya, dengue, and yellow fever.
It repels mosquitoes by releasing a vapour form of insecticide through a battery-powered fan, forming an insecticide “cloud” around the wearer of the device.
In order to test the effectiveness of the device, Christopher Bibbs and Rui-De Xue of the Anastasia Mosquito Control District in Florida, US carried out a study to see how the device performed against hungry Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
The study was carried out outdoors in order to replicate real-world conditions. The team found that the OFF! Clip-On device caused high mosquito mortality.
It recorded impressive knockdown rates of up to 0.3 metres from the device, enough to protect a single person wearing the device.
The effectiveness of the device came as a pleasant surprise to the researchers.
“In vector control, we see more often than not that tools available for consumers do not work for the intended purpose,” Bibbs said.
“Just look at all the bug zappers, repellent bracelets, sonic bug repellents, and other zany creations that wax and wane in popularity. Skepticism is inherent to the trade. But it was nice for a change of pace that one of these devices could actually do some good,” Bibbs noted.
The device is available in Walmart and other online stores. It has a price tag of around $12 (that’s about 2,500 Naira).