Entomology (Study of Bugs)/mosquitoes

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Question
QUESTION: Hello Dr, I would REALLY like to know how long HIV and especially Hepatitis C can survive in a mosquito's stomach before the human disease is broken down enough to not be a threat.

I have been searching for this answer for a long time.  I really hope that you might know or be able to find out.


Sincerely,

Cary

ANSWER: Cary:

I've attached a couple of links on your question.  The first answers your question about the HIV virus and the second anout Hep C.


HIV
<a href="http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~insects/aids.htm">

Hep C
<a href="http://bric.postech.ac.kr/science/97now/01_6now/010604d.html">
<a href="http://hepatitis.about.com/od/prevention/a/mosquitoes.htm">

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I see HCV is quite robust.  HIV dies quickly, but HCV lives on.
The only concerns I have are these:

Do mosquitoes feed on multiple people?

Is it possible to smack a mosquito, feeding on you, with blood from someone else?

Should this theoretical risk factor be considered?

Answer
A female mosquito makes several clutches of eggs in her lifetime.  Each clutch of eggs is produced from a full feeding of blood.  If a female can't fill up at the first host, she may visit another.

If she partially feeds on a a person infected with HCV and then goes to another uninfected person to complete her meal, she will not transmit the disease because she doesn't regurgitate blood into the second host.  If the second person was to smash her on his skin while she was feeding and get blood on his skin, it is doubtful that the HVC would be transmitted unless there is a break in the skin or if the second person has poor hygiene.

Even if scenario #2 happens, the chances of transmission are extremely low.  You'd probably win the Powerball Lottery first.

The key word in your follow up is THEORETICAL.  All of this is not proven.  The research only said that HCV can multiply in mosquito cells, but it said nothing about being produced in the salivary glands of the mosquito.  Mosquitoes only inject saliva into the host while feeding to serve as an anticoagulant, which also serves as the carrier for pathogens.

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Nathan Riggs

Expertise

I currently live in San Antonio, TX and have expertise in identifying insects, many types of spiders, and other arthropod critters that infest lawns, ornamentals, structures, trees, pets and livestock. Mites are not a strong point of mine. I'm not a licensed doctor, so I cannot provide medical diagnosis of conditions possibly related to insects or other arthropods. If you've got an interesting photo for me to see, attach it to your question, or let me know and I'll give you my email so the picture will get to me. If you have hosted an insect photo on a website, please include the link so I can go look at it and provide a faster ID for you. You may also join my group page on Facebook and post your picture at www.facebook.com/groups/antmans.hill/.

Experience

22+ years' experience as an entomologist: 5 years as a biologist with Merck Animal Health (I was part of the R&D team that worked to develop FrontLine flea and tick products) and 7 years as an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist in San Antonio, Texas with Texas Cooperative Extension.

Publications
Veterinary Parasitology, Southwestern Entomologist, San Antonio Express News, San Antonio Gardener Newsletter, Master Gardener SCION Newsletter, GardenStyleSA e-Newsletter

Education/Credentials
BS - Entomology from Texas A&M University in 1992.

Board Certified Entomologist, 1996-2000 - Medical and Veterinary Entomology Specialty (Entomological Society of America)

Awards and Honors
2000 Texas A&M University Vice Chancellor's Award in Excellence for leadership on the Texas Fire Ant Program Educational Team.

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