In the global battle to stop the devastating Zika virus from spreading, the mosquitoes that carry it are proving to be an infatigable foe.
Enter the Mosquito Killer Billboard, a new open-source project in Brazil that targets the mosquitoes known to carry Zika, reports BBC News.
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The billboard works by mimicking human breath to fake out the mosquitoes. A device inside sprays a combination of carbon dioxide and lactic acid solution. At night, fluorescent lights increase the attraction. Then mosquitoes get trapped in the display, later dying from dehydration, according to the project.
Since the mosquitoes the billboard targets fly around four feet high, the trapping mechanism is located at that height. It can attract the insects from a distance of up to around 1.5 miles, the Mosquito Killer Billboard site says. The Brazilian project was created by the ad agencies NBS and Posterscope.
The Zika virus causes a birth defect called microcephaly, a condition where babies are born with abnormally small heads and brains. Initial outbreaks occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands, the CDC reported. Last year infections were confirmed in Brazil. In February, the World Health Organization declared Zika a global emergency. An estimated two billion people are now at risk.
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A mosquito with distinctive white markings called Aedes aegypti, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, carries Zika.
"The thing about this mosquito is that it's a flying bioterrorist menace," Edimilson Migowski, chief of infectious diseases at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, says in a video about the new billboard. He warns that if we don't stop it, the mosquito could take over the world.
Blueprints and technological details for the billboard are available online through a Creative Commons license, which means any city in Brazil or the world could create one. See how it works here: