Can Mosquitoes Spread Coronavirus? The New Research You Need to Know About
Experts are now studying whether or not mosquitoes can spread coronavirus from person to person.
With the weather heating up as summer approaches, a familiar pest is once again returning: the mosquito. And while their uncomfortable stings are irritating enough as it is, during the coronavirus pandemic, getting bitten by one of those bloodsuckers is a more concerning experience, leaving many wondering—can mosquito bites transmit coronavirus?
Considering the long list of diseases mosquitoes are known to transmit—including Zika virus, malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, and Chikungunya virus, according to the CDC—it's understandable that people are concerned about the potential for bugs to transmit coronavirus, as well. And now new research will attempt to answer that question. According to an April 15 memo from ProPublica, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin investigating mosquito bites as a possible means of coronavirus transmission.
But here's the good news: The odds of mosquito-borne coronavirus cases are extremely low, according to experts.
Leann Poston, MD, of Ikon Health, says it's "highly unlikely" that mosquitoes could pass the virus from person to person, since it's primarily spread through respiratory droplets. "For a mosquito to transmit it, the COVID virus would have to be in the circulatory system (blood) of the person bitten," after which the virus would need to reproduce inside the mosquito, which has never been shown to occur, explains Poston. After this, "the virus would need to go to the salivary glands of the mosquito" in order to infect another human through a bite.
Poston goes on to explain that, despite the cases of coronavirus that have been seen in household pets and exotic animals, "viruses that are ideally adapted to infect one species do not find other species to be good hosts."
Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concurs with Poston's assessment, noting that there is no evidence at the moment that either mosquitoes or ticks can spread coronavirus; the World Health Organization (WHO) also plainly states that this mode of transmission isn't possible.
While the USDA investigates, you can keep your hands washed, keep the bug spray handy, and rest easy knowing that most mosquitoes will likely leave you with little more than an itchy bite. And for myths that have been disproven, check out these 10 Myths About Face Masks You Need to Know.