Cheap tire innovation could boost Zika desease control

A cheap mosquito trap out of old tires that can collect thousands of eggs that may carry the Zika virus, has been developed by researchers in Laurentian University in Ontario, Canada according to an AFP report.

The trap is called an “ovillanta” and consists of cutout tires and a liquid solution that lures Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are known to carry a number diseases, including Zika – the desease held responsible for infant brain disorders.

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“What we are aiming at is destroying the second generation of mosquitoes, by destroying the eggs and the larvae,” said Gerardo Ulibarri, a professor of biochemistry at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont.

Ulibarri and his fellow researchers tested the trap — dubbed an ovillanta — in Guatemala, where species of the Aedes mosquito can carry dengue, chikungunya and Zika. The insects transmit the viruses among people through their bites.

According to AFP, in this method, the females lay their eggs on a wooden or paper strip inside the tire trap. The strip can be removed weekly and the eggs destroyed by using fire or ethanol.

The ovillanta — “llanta” is one word in Spanish for tire — is made from a piece of tire shaped to contain water and a pheromone solution to attract female mosquitoes. The wall-hung vessel is fitted with a valve to direct the liquid to a filter so it can be recycled.

After the eggs are trapped on paper strips, they are destroyed and the filtered water is reused.

Mosquito trap for world’s No. 1 public health emergency

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Using worn-out tires to make the traps is inexpensive and ecologically beneficial — tires make up almost 30 per cent of mosquito breeding sites in the Guatemalan city.

“People thought it was very cool because we were recycling the tires,” said Ulibarri. “So instead of seeing it in the backyard on the ground producing mosquitoes, now they had a purpose of reusing the tires.”

Article and images sources: European Rubber Journal and CBC News

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