Smelly socks help fight malaria

The smell of old socks can help fight malaria by attracting mosquitoes to a trap, scientists have discovered.

Traps scented with the odour of human feet attracted four times as many mosquitoes as a human volunteer, said Dr Fredros Okumu, head of a research project at Tanzania's Ifakara Health Institute. Mosquitoes who fly into the trap are then poisoned.

Bed nets and indoor spraying have already substantially reduced the number of fatal malaria cases, but so far scientists have not come up with a good way to help combat mosquitoes outdoors.