- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 7, 2008

ATLANTA (AP) — For the first time, health officials report that the AIDS virus can be spread by a mother pre-chewing her infant’s food, a practice mainly seen in poor, developing countries.

Three such cases were reported in the United States from 1993 to 2004, government scientists said yesterday in a presentation in Boston at a scientific conference.

It’s blood, not saliva, that carried the virus because in at least two of the cases the infected mothers had bleeding gums or mouth sores, according to investigators at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC officials say more study is needed. But they are asking parents and care givers with HIV not to pre-chew infants’ food, and are trying to educate doctors about this kind of transmission.

Health officials think chewed-food transmission is rare in the United States, where such behavior is considered unusual. In some countries, mothers do it because they have no access to baby food or a means of pulverizing food for toothless infants.

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