Ethiopian and Swedish scientists found that mosquitoes carrying the malaria virus tend to avoid chickens and other birds.
Experiments in western Ethiopia involve placing a live chicken in a cage near a voluntary camp, under a net.
Last year, malaria, also called malaria killed nearly 400,000 people in Africa, according to the World Health Organization.
The rate of mortality and infections are down, but health officials continue to seek new avenues of prevention against the spread of the disease.
The malaria parasite, which first hides in the liver before entering the bloodstream, is passed from one person to another when they are bitten by mosquitoes.
The scientists, whose research was published in the “Malaria Journal” found that mosquitoes use their sense of smell to locate an animal if they want to sting.
According to them, there must be an element in the smell of a chicken, which puts the insects off.
Habtie Tekie, of Addis Ababa University, who worked on the research, said that the compounds of the chicken odor can be extracted and could function as repellents.
Field trials at this stage of the research are now project, he told the BBC.
Researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences were also involved in the project.
chicken feathers extracts compounds have also been used in the experiments, as well as live poultry.
The researchers found that the use of chicken and its compounds have “significantly reduced” the number of mosquitoes found in the trap nearby.
Scientists say in the report that some mosquitoes have developed resistance to insecticides, and that “new methods of control” need to be adopted.
Source: BBC Africa