Identification of human semiochemicals attractive to the major vectors of onchocerciasis. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Entomological indicators are considered key metrics to document the interruption of transmission of Onchocerca volvulus, the etiological agent of human onchocerciasis. Human landing collection is the standard employed for collection of the vectors for this parasite. Recent studies reported the development of traps that have the potential for replacing humans for surveillance of O. volvulus in the vector population. However, the key chemical components of human odor that are attractive to vector black flies have not been identified. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Human sweat compounds were analyzed using GC-MS analysis and compounds common to three individuals identified. These common compounds, with others previously identified as attractive to other hematophagous arthropods were evaluated for their ability to stimulate and attract the major onchocerciasis vectors in Africa (Simulium damnosum sensu lato) and Latin America (Simulium ochraceum s. l.) using electroantennography and a Y tube binary choice assay. Medium chain length carboxylic acids and aldehydes were neurostimulatory for S. damnosum s.l. while S. ochraceum s.l. was stimulated by short chain aliphatic alcohols and aldehydes. Both species were attracted to ammonium bicarbonate and acetophenone. The compounds were shown to be attractive to the relevant vector species in field studies, when incorporated into a formulation that permitted a continuous release of the compound over time and used in concert with previously developed trap platforms. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The identification of compounds attractive to the major vectors of O. volvulus will permit the development of optimized traps. Such traps may replace the use of human vector collectors for monitoring the effectiveness of onchocerciasis elimination programs and could find use as a contributing component in an integrated vector control/drug program aimed at eliminating river blindness in Africa.

published proceedings

  • PLoS Negl Trop Dis

altmetric score

  • 1.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Young, R. M., Burkett-Cadena, N. D., McGaha, T. W., Rodriguez-Perez, M. A., To, L. D., Adeleke, M. A., ... Cupp, E. W.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Young, Ryan M||Burkett-Cadena, Nathan D||McGaha, Tommy W||Rodriguez-Perez, Mario A||ToĆ©, Laurent D||Adeleke, Monsuru A||Sanfo, Moussa||Soungalo, Traore||Katholi, Charles R||Noblet, Raymond||Fadamiro, Henry||Torres-Estrada, Jose L||Salinas-Carmona, Mario C||Baker, Bill||Unnasch, Thomas R||Cupp, Eddie W

editor list (cited editors)

  • Ribeiro, J.

publication date

  • January 2015