A new billboard has been created in Brazil to attract and kill mosquitoes by mimicking human sweat. Logically called the "Mosquito Killer," this has been launched by two advertising agencies to raise awareness about the Zika virus and help combat the spread.
So how does it work? The billboard emits a solution of carbon dioxide and lactic acid to recreate the human sweat that lures mosquitoes - specifically the Aedes aegypti mosquito species that is found to be carrying the virus. Upon contact, they become trapped inside and eventually die. One billboard can attract insects up to 2.5km away (about 1.6 miles).
The idea, according to agencies Posterscope and NBS, is to help eliminate the aforementioned Zika virus, which has been rapidly spreading across Brazil and Latin America. In Brazil, more than 1.5 million Zika cases have been recorded since April 2015. And the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed this virus can lead to microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads. Naturally, something has to be done.
At the moment, two billboards have been built in Rio de Janeiro, which doesn't seem like a lot. But the creators have published the technical specifications for free online, calling for others to install more of their own.
The World Health Organisation acknowledges the traps may help reduce the spread of Zika. However they say further research is needed to determine their efficacy. The risks are clear when you think about it - attracting Zika-carrying mosquitoes to densely populated places where people walk around with exposed skin in hot climates. However, nything that can be done to curb the amount of mosquitoes carrying the virus is a win in my books.