Tokyo: A novel mosquito trap that lures its prey using human scent and other smells favoured by the critter is creating a buzz as Japan frets about the spread of dengue fever.
The boxlike device is the brainchild of Kenzo Iwao, a former professor at the Nagoya Institute of Technology who has studied tiger mosquitoes, which transmit viruses typically found in tropical and subtropical regions, for about 20 years, Xinhua quoted the Asahi Shimbun daily as saying Thursday.
The plastic contraption, invented by the 65-year-old three years ago, is black and triangular in shape, with equilateral sides measuring 40 cm.
The secret of the device is a sticky sheet with an original liquid coating composed of the same constituent as human sweat and plant extract, which mosquitoes are drawn to.
When placed outside, the device is said to resemble a crouched animal such as a dog or a cat in the eyes of mosquitoes and traps the species of small fly.
Given that it needs no power, the device is easy to use outdoors.
While most of Iwao's customers have been dairy farmers, inquiries from schools, kindergartens and shrines poured in after a local dengue fever case was confirmed in Japan in August. He said he has been unable to keep up with demand for the device, priced at 3,000 yen (about $27) before tax.
According to the health ministry, 159 people in 18 prefectures have been infected with the virus as of Oct 15.
"Although temperatures are cooler, people should take care to avoid being bitten at least until the end of October," a ministry official warned.