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P N G Med J. 1996 Sep;39(3):205-7.

Can mosquitoes transmit AIDS?

Author information

1
Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Madang, Papua New Guinea.

Abstract

Surveys to determine knowledge regarding AIDS have shown in many countries, including Papua New Guinea, that a large proportion of the literate population still mistakenly believe that mosquitoes can transmit the AIDS virus from one person to another. In this paper we review the theoretical mechanisms which would allow blood-sucking insects such as mosquitoes to transmit virus and discuss the evidence against transmission of HIV by mosquitoes. AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease with no scientific evidence for arthropod transmission.

PIP:

Surveys in many countries, including Papua New Guinea, show that a large proportion of the literate population still believe the fallacy that mosquitoes can transmit the AIDS virus from one person to another. Since AIDS was first recognized, many have reported on the possibility of mosquito involvement in the transmission of the virus. In 1988, almost half of 6625 men and women interviewed in Zaire and nearly half of 4189 teacher-trainees interviewed in Zimbabwe believed in the transmission of AIDS by mosquitoes. A recent survey involving 1500 high school students from 14 schools in 4 different provinces in Papua New Guinea revealed that 34% of them considered mosquitoes to be carriers of HIV. Although mosquitoes are carriers of yellow fever, dengue fever, and Japanese encephalitis, there is no evidence that mosquitoes can transmit HIV. Studies with HIV have shown clearly that the virus disappears in the mosquito after about 1-2 days, the time required for the mosquito to digest the blood-meal. Since the virus does not survive to reproduce and invade the salivary glands, biological transmission of HIV is not possible. It has been calculated that, for mechanical transmission, an AIDS-free individual would have to be bitten by 10 million mosquitoes that had been feeding on an HIV carrier to receive a single unit of HIV from contaminated mosquito mouthparts. In short, there is still no evidence of arthropod transmission of the HIV virus.

PMID:
9795564
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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