The Basin Report

Mosquitoes and Coronavirus

Odessa, TX – With the summer months approaching, the thought of mosquitoes and the current coronavirus pandemic quickly come to mind.  With West Texas heat and the little biters associated hand-in-hand, is it going to be possible for the pesky insects to continue the spread of COVID-19?

Mosquitoes have been known for transmitting such diseases as Zika and West Nile viruses over the past few years.  So, can a virus like Covid-19 be the next potential cargo spread through infectious bites?

The American Mosquito Control Association says for a virus to pass through mosquitoes or ticks to people, the virus must be able to replicate inside the mosquito or tick.  The AMCA also points out that people who are already sick from mosquito-borne viruses have a weakened immunity, which could make it much worse if they did catch COVID-19.  So, the group says, mosquito prevention and control in your own yard is even more critical than ever this spring and summer.

Dr. Lee Biggs, chief medical officer at Trident Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina explains, “We’ve not seen any data that links transmission of coronaviruses via an entity like mosquitoes. BUT, that’s not to say that we won’t.  We don’t have any data that tells us the seasonal flu is also potentiated by mosquitoes even though flu season extends into when we’d see more mosquito situations.”

Victoria County’s public health authority, Dr. John McNeill, echoes Biggs’ response. “There is currently no indication that the new coronavirus can be spread through mosquitoes, but it is a possibility.  Because if the virus was present in infected people’s blood, it may be possible that the virus is spread by the insects under the right conditions.  Theoretically, it would be possible.”

The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization say there is no evidence that it could happen.  According to the WHO website, COVID-19 cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites.  The organization also 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, sneezes, talks, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

  
While it sounds and looks good in print, this is a novel coronavirus and we now know that it has mutated into different strains over the past few months.  While no testing data currently supports the possibility of transferring COVID-19 from human to mosquito to human, there is also no data to discredit the chance of transfer either. 

 

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