My long-term boyfriend has hep c. We have been very careful to avoid blood to blood contact in our daily life. Though I have not been tested, I am not aware of any direct exposures of blood between us.
However, the issue comes up when we often work together doing forest-based research work. We live out in the forest, in a shared tent, for the good part of the warm season (up to 6 months). During this time, I am bitten by thousands of mosquitos. It is unavoidable. They like me more than most people, and I get dozens of bites a day. At least. He gets some to, though not as many. We share a tent. Occasionally, mosquitos may get stuck inside the mesh and spend the whole night with us, biting repeatedly.
My question is if I could potentially be exposed to Hep C from, via these mosquito bites? (I am not talking about blood and wounds that may result from bites, but from the mosquitos themselves)
I have seen references to research studies that show some mosquitos have antibodies against hep c, thus making it more likely that they may also pass on the virus? I have seen more basic hep c websites that say things like, "some research has shown that mosquitos might transmit some forms of hep c." But there rarely a link to the research.
Does anyone know any more details about this, or have any links to articles that might address this?
I want to know if I am being exposed and if everyone at our camp is too?
Hopefully you're taking the proper prophylaxis for malaria if you are in an area where this is common. Also, deet based repellants work very well to avoid being bitten. Your research project sounds very interesting. Hope you are enjoying it and collect some great data.
Sorry for the cut and paste, but following is a response I posted in another recent thread that hopefully addresses your question.
It isn't unusual for people to worry about mosquitoes since they can transmit over 30 diseases to humans or animals, such as yellow fever, dengue fever, eastern equine encephalitis, heartworm and malaria, the number one killer of humans is the world. Fortunately, very few human pathogens/viruses can be transmitted by mosquitoes. AIDS was a big concern since higher infection rates were seen in clusters in Florida where there were often high populations of mosquitoes. But the simple answer is, there's not enough virus is available, and it can't replicate in the mosquitoes body. The mosquito is not an efficient vector for this disease.
Following is a good article to explain and you can apply the same to HCV.
Why Mosquitoes Cannot Transmit AIDS
very interesting. in theory it sounds possible but in reality unlikely. the only thing different with your scenario is that you are in same tent and possible getting bit over and over. This may change the odds somewhat. probably still impossible but who really knows for sure. You should still get tested for your own peace of mind.
Because hepatitis B and hepatitis C are spread by contact with infected blood, it's very tempting to think of mosquitoes as flying hypodermic needles. However, the "needle" that mosquitoes feed with, called the proboscis, is actually a complex structure that has separate channels. When a mosquito bites, it injects saliva through one channel. The saliva functions as a lubricant to help the mosquito feed easier. The blood it ***** as a meal flows in a completely separate channel and only in one direction: toward the mosquito. So, it's biologically unlikely for infected blood to be spread to another person.
Also, people who study mosquitoes have noticed they usually don't bite two people consecutively. After they bite, they will fly away to let their food digest and then after a period of time, they will feed again. Because the hepatitis viruses don't last long in a harsh environment, they wouldn't survive long enough to infect.
Can a person get Hepatitis C from a mosquito or other insect bite?
Hepatitis C virus has not been shown to be transmitted by mosquitoes or other insects.
Experimental evidence against replication or dissemination of hepatitis C virus in mosquitoes (Diptera:Culicidae) using detection by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction.
J Med Entomol. 1996 May;33(3):398-401.
In 3 laboratory experiments, mosquitoes were fed hepatitis C virus (HCV)-RNA positive blood by using membrane feeders, separated into head, thorax, and abdomen, and tested by a reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction for HCV-RNA. HCV did not replicate or disseminate in mosquitoes that had ingested blood from patients that were HCV-viremic positive. When yellow fever mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti (L.), were held for 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21 d after feeding, HCV-RNA was detected in the abdomens of 5/5 mosquitoes at 1 d after feeding; remaining tissues were negative with the exception of a single positive head at 7 d. In agreement, HCV-RNA was detected in Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus Skuse, and Anopheles stephensi Liston abdomens at 1 d, but not 3 d after feeding no HCV-RNA was detected in heads or thoraces. In addition, HCV-RNA was detected in heads of Ae. aegypti at 10 and 20 min, but not at 30 min, after feeding. The latter results raise the possibility of HCV contamination of mouthparts and, theoretically, mechanical transmission of this virus.
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