With malaria on a rampage in many regions of the tropics, a mosquito net is the best defense at night. But what about the early morning and dusk? These are the prime biting hours for malaria-infected mosquitos, which have little trouble poking their "noses" through most clothing.
By modifying a pesticide that keeps moths away from carpets and woolens, U. S. Army scientists at Fort Detrick, Md., have come up with a formula that can be safely applied to uniforms. And a treated garment doesn't just repel mosquitos--it kills them on contact. Because the insecticide, called permethrin, proved effective during Operation Desert Storm, permethrin spray cans are standard issue for U. S. troops in Somalia. The sprayed-on treatment lasts through at least 25 launderings, but Army researchers aren't satisfied. They're now working on a way to provide longer-term mosquito protection by pretreating cloth during its manufacture.