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Mosquitoes more likely to bite preggies, alcohol drinkers—study

/ 07:42 PM July 05, 2016
In this Jan. 27, 2016 file photo, samples of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, responsible for transmitting dengue and Zika, sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz Institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. AP FILE PHOTO

AP FILE PHOTO

As the Zika virus continues to be a threat, expectant mothers have reason to believe they run the greater risk of being bitten by mosquitoes carrying the virus.

Pregnant women are twice as likely to be bitten by certain types of mosquitoes, according to a recent study conducted by researchers from Durham University in the UK.

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The research revealed that the insect’s fondness for mothers-to-be stems from two reasons. First, pregnant women exhale more air than non-pregnant women, and mosquitoes may be attracted to the carbon dioxide in their breath.

Also, pregnant women’s abdomens are roughly 0.7 degrees Celsius hotter than normal, so their skin releases more volatile compounds, including a mosquito-attracting lactic acid.

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In a similar study, scientists also found a link between mosquito bites and alcohol consumption, as drinkers are found to be more prone to the insect’s bites.

“The theory is alcohol may raise your body temperature a little bit and make you more attractive to mosquitoes,” said Dr. Jon Steadman of the Medical Center of McKinney.

Steadman said people who drink alcohol are among the four types of people more likely to be bitten by mosquitos, including expectant mothers, athletes and people with Type O blood.

“They should enact a lot more precautions and protections against mosquitoes,” he added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has continued to flash the alarm on the danger of mosquitoes carrying the dreaded Zika virus, which can cause microcephaly and other birth defects in unborn babies.The pesky bugs can carry other diseases that are dangerous for soon-to-be-moms, like West Nile virus, which shows little to no symptoms upon contact.

One of the study’s authors, Dr. Steve Lindsay, said pregnant women should load up on bug spray to avoid getting bitten.

“Look for formulas containing DEET, picaridin, and lemon eucalyptus oil for the best protection,” he was quoted as saying in a New York Post report.  “Staying in air-conditioned areas, avoiding standing water, and wearing long clothing can also protect against bites.” Khristian Ibarrola

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TOPICS: alcoholism, attraction, bites, mosquitos, pregnant women, Research, Science, Zika virus
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