- Scientists have developed hiking socks and ankle straps to repel mosquitoes
- Most mosquitoes with the malaria virus bite people’s feet and ankles
- The socks remain effective for 8 months or up to 25 cold washes
The festive season coincides with the malaria season in South Africa. From October to February, parts of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal become hotspots for the mosquito-borne virus.
According to the national health ministry, around 4.9 million people are at risk of the disease in the country.
“Protect Your Lower Limbs”
To contain and prevent malaria, scientists from the University of Pretoria developed a long-lasting insect repellent called No Buzz in the form of hiking socks and ankle bands to keep mosquitos away.
In an interview with Health24, Dr. Mthokozisi Sibanda, one of the developers of the product, said that according to research by the university, around 93% of mosquitoes that carry the malaria virus bite people’s feet and ankles, which led them to develop the new product.
“When you protect your lower limbs, you protect yourself from infection, or at least reduce the chance of infection,” he says.
“She [mosquitos] how low and close to the ground fly. And they no longer venture into houses because they know the insides of houses are usually treated. So they wait for people outside at sunset and bite their ankles and feet. And in the early morning, just before the sun comes up, they are still active in these areas.
“It is very important for people to be protected from malaria by making sure that they have adequate protection against mosquito bites in the lower extremities. This is where our products come into play, which are designed to prevent mosquito bites in the lower limbs, ”explains Sibanda.
How do these products work?
Sibanda says the socks and straps are made of a fiber infused with the mosquito repellent, citridiol, which is slowly released. The repellant lasts eight months or up to 25 cold washes.
He says the socks and ribbons are made for outdoor activities like hiking in areas like Kruger National Park, where malaria is common. This means that people can enjoy their vacation with less fear of malaria.
Sibanda adds that the repellant is environmentally friendly and harmless to babies.