Mosquitoes seen through a fluorescence microscope.

Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

Why are mosquitoes drawn to people infected with malaria? Swedish researchers say they’ve identified a substance pumped out by malaria parasites that triggers a distinctive smell in their victims, noticeable only to mosquitoes.

Alvaro Acosta Serrano, a parasitologist at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said it might be possible to make synthetic versions of the mosquito-attracting fragrance to lure and then wipe out the insects. Malaria kills about 429,000 people every year, mostly children in Africa.

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