- While mosquitoes can carry different diseases, COVID-19 isn’t one of them.
- Novel coronavirus is a respiratory virus spread via droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose—so there is no evidence that mosquitoes can carry or transmit the virus—notes the World Health Organization.
- The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to avoid people who appear to be sick, do your best to practice social distancing, wash your hands well with soap and water, and, when social distancing isn’t possible, wear a mask.
We’re in the thick of mosquito season—and a global pandemic—and it’s only natural to have questions about whether the two are related. After all mosquitoes can transmit viruses like Zika virus, West Nile, and dengue fever, so…can mosquitoes transmit novel coronavirus?
Before you panic thinking about what could happen, know this: It’s not likely.
The World Health Organization (WHO) actually addresses this in a “mythbusters” section on its website. “To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes,” the WHO says online. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that spreads mostly through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes—or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose, the organization explains—not through the bite of an infected mosquito.
“People ask this all the time,” says infectious disease expert John A. Sellick, Jr., D.O., a professor of medicine at the University at Buffalo/SUNY.
“This is actually true of most viruses and most other infectious agents: Some bacteria and viruses can devastate a herd of livestock but would do nothing to you or me,” Dr. Sellick explains. “It’s the same with insects and this particular coronavirus. Insects are not permissive for this. Even if a mosquito were to bite someone who is infected, it would not be able to replicate the infection and transmit it to other people.”
Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, echoes this.
“COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory virus,” he says. “To be transmitted by a mosquito, the virus has to be viable in the mosquito itself. Coronaviruses don’t have that relationship with mosquitoes.”
Think about it like the common cold or the flu, neither of which you get from a mosquito—the virus can’t replicate inside those pesky winged insects, so they can’t pass it on. “Not every pathogen can be transmitted by mosquitoes—only a select group,” Dr. Adalja says.
So, while mosquitoes can carry different diseases, there is no evidence that COVID-19 is one of them. To protect yourself from COVID-19, Dr. Adalja recommends following the guidelines you can probably recite in your sleep by now: Try to avoid people who appear to be sick, do your best to practice social distancing, wash your hands well with soap and water, and, when social distancing isn’t possible, wear a mask.
It’s also not a terrible idea to do your best to avoid mosquito bites, given that mosquitoes can pass on some diseases. That’s why Dr. Adalja recommends using mosquito repellent when you’re going to be outdoors, wearing long sleeves, and trying to avoid being outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
But, while battling mosquitoes during the summer isn’t exactly fun, you can at least rest a little easier knowing you won’t get COVID-19 that way.
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