New Delhi:  A key Team Anna member on Monday dismissed as a 'myth' and 'rumour' reports of a threat by an unknown 'needle group' to prick Anna Hazare and his supporters with needles contaminated with the HIV virus. Manish Sisodia asked Team Anna supporters not to worry.

An anonymous letter was sent to Delhi Police Dec 9 which said: “Around 50 volunteers in this needle group who are trained would use the needles cleverly on at least 1,000 people.”

Sisodia said the letters are “just to scare people who are supporting Anna Hazare and his campaign”. “With these baseless letters, pranksters think people will avoid attending the campaign,” he said.

AIDS Society of India (ASI), a professional body of doctors involved in HIV care, and Peoples Health Organisation (PHO -India), an NGO working for AIDS control in India, said such misinformation will create major panic among people, particularly those associated with the Anna Hazare campaign.

“Unfortunately, such stories which are plain rumours without the slightest element of truth, receive undue attention... without authentic backing from the scientific community, the media should not run such human interest stories,” a statement from ASI said.

In order to avoid unnecessary panic among the people, the ASI informed that it is difficult to contract HIV through needles contaminated with the HIV virus, as the virus does not survive outside human body for long.

“Virus dies as soon as blood dries. HIV contaminated blood supposedly used for pricks like the ones described, doesn't pose any real risk of transmission,” the ASI statement said.

Thanking ASI for its scientific explanation, Sisodia said: “We are happy that ASI has given a scientific clarification, so people will not panic.”

However, Sisodia asked the people to be careful and vigilant against any untoward incident, while participating in any campaign in future.

The statement also explained that the HIV virus can't be transmitted through pins, needles in public places, from water, eatables even if they are contaminated with blood. There is not a single documented case of HIV infection anywhere in the world to prove such 'weird transmission', it said.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has filed an FIR under sections 505 (2) - statements conducing to public mischief, 506 (criminal intimidation) and 507 (criminal intimidation by anonymous communication) of the Indian Penal Code in the case.

Agencies