Why do some people get more mosquito bites than others? Study reveals reason

Stock image. Jimmy Chan (Pexels)

Ever wonder why some people get annihilated by mosquito bites, while others go pretty much untouched?

A new study conducted by researchers at The Rockefeller University in New York City found out some answers to that question.

Researchers at the university’s lab of neurogenetics and behavior discovered that skin odor differences attract mosquito species that commonly spread viruses that cause ailments such as dengue, yellow fever, and Zika.

People with higher levels of carboxylic acids on their skin are more susceptible to bites.

Their findings were released in a cell on Oct. 18 in an effort to combat mosquito-born illnesses.

The study consisted of 64 volunteers wearing nylon sleeves and being exposed to a variety of mosquitos on their arms in a glass chamber for six hours.

After the mosquitoes were released and then collected, researchers were able to find the mosquito magnets thanks to the nylon sleeves worn by the study participants.

“Samples from the most attractive volunteer were four times as enticing to mosquitoes as those from the next most attractive volunteer—and over 100 times more attractive than those from the two least attractive people,” researchers said.

In addition, researchers discovered that mosquitoes use molecules called co-receptors to help detect odors on human skin.

“The researchers performed a set of experiments where they eliminated these co-receptors in different groups of mosquitoes,” they said. “For three of the co-receptors, removal of each decreased the general interest of the mosquitoes in human odors. However, the mosquitoes could still distinguish between the most and least attractive people.”

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Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.