Can Mosquitoes Infect You with Coronavirus?
Thank god, the answer is no. Here is what the science tells us.
Global agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) and medical experts are in agreement: There is absolutely no truth to the myth that mosquitoes can carry and transmit the novel coronavirus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the diseases that can be spread to people by mosquitoes include the Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue, and malaria.
With this in mind, many people have wondered whether coronavirus could be transmitted as well.
On the WHO’s “Mythbusters” webpage, the agency says: “To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.”
Lawrence Stanberry, director of the programs in global health at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, noted that researchers in past studies have tried to infect mosquitoes with the coronavirus, but have been unsuccessful.
“Some mosquitoes carry one kind of virus preferentially over another, but there’s absolutely no evidence that you can either infect them with coronavirus or that they transmit it,” Stanberry told Today.
“I don't know where those kinds of things come from.”
Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an infectious disease physician, told Today that it is still important for people to keep an eye out for other diseases that the CDC has warned about.
“Mosquitoes can transmit a variety of infectious diseases in the United States,” Adalja said.
“They often get neglected until there’s an issue, because they don’t often make the headlines. … It’s important that communities think about mosquito control even when there’s not some big outbreak because these threats don’t disappear.”
One way to suppress mosquito populations near homes is to make sure that there are no areas where they can breed. Anything that holds water can potentially be a mosquito-breeding ground.
“Clean up your yard to remove any kind of breeding sites for mosquitos—like bottle caps or any kind of containers that mosquitoes might like,” Adalja said.
There are now more than 15.3 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, including at least 626,000 deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.