I have a cheap red wine headache. I am a day late on a deadline & still not finished. And I am realising that these two together mean one sour stalemate.
So in an attempt to regain thinking ability, here is a post about those bitches of buzzing female blood-feasting creatures – Malaria-Transmitting Mosquitoes. Especially for Louisa who has requested an explanation of why they cannot transmit HIV…
There is no epidemiological evidence. (That dumb big word which I can never pronounce means “the science of disease transmission”).
…this is further supported by examples of children (who show no signs of sexual activity) becoming regularly infected with mosquito-borne diseases, but not HIV. Yet they live in an area where both diseases are prevalent.
But these spawn-of-Satan insects can transmit malaria, so why not HIV?
This is because malaria, as well as yellow fever & dengue, have adapted to multiply in the body of mosquitoes before the mosquito infects a human.
HIV, being the weakling it is in some areas, cannot even survive the hostile environment of the mossie’s tummy, let alone multiply there.
ALSO, mosquitoes do not inject BLOOD into their victim, only their saliva (which is an anti-clogging agent).
But if HIV transmission is possible via needles, and the little mosquito also has a needle-like feeding instrument – its proboscis… then what about possible mechanical transmission!?
Ah but no!
- The proboscis is many times smaller than the needle of a syringe. And even with metal needle pricks, the chances of HIV transmission are low;
- Far less blood can stick to the much smaller proboscis (I am hating typing this word out as much as I hate saying that “epi” word!!) = even less chance;
- A virus would need to be far more infectious than HIV before it could be transmitted by such a small quantity of blood.
Therefore, this way is so unlikely, scientists are happy to call it impossible.
The way the lady sucks your blood – her feeing behaviour – makes it even more unlikely:
“The female mosquito usually takes her blood meal from one person only. After drinking her fill, she sits for more than an hour, usually on a vertical surface like a wall, to get rid of all the excess fluids from the ingested blood, retaining only the high concentration of blood proteins which she needs for the development of her eggs. After that she fly away, and it may be many more days before she needs another blood meal” (Van Dyk, A – HIV/AIDS Care & Counselling. 2005)
So there you have it. The lady may be a bitch. But at least she is not a HIV-transmitting bitch.
Nonetheless, I will drink a Gin n Tonic this evening in the spirit of chasing all mosquito bites away from my delectable body.