Clip-on device can help keep Zika-spreading mosquitoes at bay

Washington: A new study has revealed about the product called the OFF! Clip-On repellent device that could be an effective tool for preventing Zika virus infection, which has been linked to a devastating birth defect that affects a fetus’ brain.

The mosquito-borne disease, for which there is no vaccine or treatment, has been quickly spreading across the Americas since May, when the first confirmed Zika infection was reported in Brazil. More than four million people could be infected by the end of the year, according to the World Health Organisation.

The OFF! Clip-On repels mosquitoes by releasing a vapor 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 studied how the device performed against hungry Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The study was done outdoors in order to replicate real-world conditions.

They found that the OFF! Clip-On caused high mosquito mortality and knockdown rates up to 0.3 meters 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, the researchers see more often than not that tools available for consumers don’t work for the intended purpose, said Bibbs. “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.”

The study appears in Journal of Medical Entomology. (ANI)