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To: Multiple recipients of list HUM-MOLGEN <HUM-MOLGEN@NIC.SURFNET.NL>
Subject: DIAG: HIV/mosquitoes
From: Carlo Gambacorti <GAMBACORTI@icil64.cilea.it>
Date: Wed, 31 May 1995 16:52:49 MET-DST

           HUM-MOLGEN  DIAGnostics/Clinical Research

This DIAG message contains 2 submessage(s):



+ a note from the editor

  Carlo Gambacorti MD, Editor,
  Human Molecular Genetics network
  Diagnostics/Clinical Research Section


        The CDC put this rumor to rest a few years ago, but it still
keeps popping up, frightening ignorant laymen.

        Consider the epidemiology:  AIDS primarily affects IV drug users
and sexually active teenagers/adults, and children whose mothers are HIV+.
Mosquitoes, on the other hand, bite EVERYONE.  If mosquitoes transmitted
HIV, older children of HIV- mothers would have the same prevalence as the
other risk groups.  They don't.

Chris Friedrich, M.D., Ph.D.                    Voice   (410) 614-2521
Lipid Research-Atherosclerosis Unit             Fax     (410) 955-1276
Dept. of Pediatrics, CMSC 6-104         Voice mail      (410) 614-1030
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
600 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21287



Dear Claude and whoever might have been misled:

HIV is not transmitted by mosquitoes.  That notion was put forth by an
ultra-right wing militant extremist group headed by Lyndon LaRouche.  The
evidence comes from the thousands of case studies tracking the source of
infection. In no instance, even in tropical regions that have severe
mosquito and malaria problems, was infection attributable to an insect
bite or sting.

Peter Covitz, Ph.D.
Department of Biological Sciences
Stanford University


Note from the editor.

         This editor thinks that any good faith question on HMG should
not be just discarded as "trivial", and should receive a scientific reply.
      In this particular case Claude Baker asked of any work showing whether
mosquitoes could transmit the HIV virus. Therefore any citation of papers
showing whether mosquitoes (or other insects) can carry and transmit the
HIV virus will be appreciated. Since the risk (if existing) would be minimal,
epidemiological studies (unless positive) provide limited help (we already
know that insects are NOT major players in HIV transmission).
      The reasons against a major involvement of mosquitoes in HIV
transmission are: HIV does not replicate in mosquitoes and
therefore does not reach the insect's saliva (which is injected),
the volume of blood processed by the insect is very small, and
finally no case was so far tracked to mosquito bites. Experimental
attempts at transferring HIV to uninfected blood via mosquitoes
failed (AIDS 1, 171-4, 1987). The situation could be slightly
different with separate insects that have quite larger blood
meals and regurgitate part of previous meals into the feeding
lesion (AIDS, 7, 341-7, 1993).    A balanced view could be that
transmission of HIV from a mosquito cannot be ruled out at 100%
but is so a remote possibility (perhaps 1 in millions, Science,
237, 355-6, 1987) to pose a negligible risk.

Carlo Gambacorti MD.

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