Beer with a bite to avoid

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The season or " saison" for craft and artisanal beers is beginning, as many new brews will be released in early May and June like Saison de BUFF, Uinta's Crooked Line and Haywire Hefeweizen. Unfortunately it is also mosquito season in various nations and one attracts the other.

Beer drinkers will want to lather on the Autan, a popular mosquito repellent available internationally sold as a spray, stick and wipes, as a new study published in the March edition of PLoS One, a peer-reviewed science journal, has found mosquitoes prefer beer over water. 

The study was conducted in Burkina Faso in an effort to understand "the effect of beer consumption on human attractiveness to malaria mosquitoes." The multi-center research team from France, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Canada found, "beer consumption consistently increased attractiveness to mosquitoes" as the "body odors" of 25 participants (and 2500 mosquitoes) "who consumed beer increased mosquito activation (proportion of mosquitoes engaging in take-off and up-wind flight) and orientation (proportion of mosquitoes flying towards volunteers' odours)" and ruled out "exhaled carbon dioxide and body temperature" as an effect of attracting mosquitoes.

It should be noted that excessive beer consumption of men throughout West Africa is perceived as a public health and economic concern. The authors of the study concluded, "these results suggest that beer consumption is a risk factor for malaria and needs to be integrated into public health policies for the design of control measures."

Nonetheless, if you are a beer lover and can't wait to enjoy all this year's seasonal brews, remember to dress appropriately (cover up) especially when the sun goes down and stock up on mosquito repellents. If you are in a malarial region, you might want to stay away from the beer and make sure you are taking an antimalarial prophylaxis like Malarone or Doxycycline. Consult your physician for a prescription and find out what is best for you.

For more information visit The Center for Disease Control's (CDC) Traveler's Health Yellow Book: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2010/chapter-2/malaria.aspx

To figure out what is the best mosquito repellent for you, go to: http://www.safariquip.co.uk/help-travel-advice/choosing-an-insect-repellent

Full study, "Beer Consumption Increases Human Attractiveness to Malaria Mosquitoes": http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0009546

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