Can Mosquitoes Carry the COVID-19 Virus? Here is What the Experts Have to Say
Mosquitoes have always been known to transmit different diseases and the summer is the peak time for these bloodsuckers. People are already facing the hardships of the dreadful Covid-19 and the way it spreads. With the season of these mosquitoes, the people are tensed whether or not their bite will spread the coronavirus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that there is neither any evidence nor any information which reveals that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted through a mosquito bite.
Coronavirus is a respiratory virus, and the primary mode of its transmission is through the viral droplets released in the air by the sneeze or cough of a person infected with Covid-19. A mosquito can be infected with the SARS CoV-19 pathogen only if the blood it feeds on has the virus present in it.
Postdoctoral Researcher in the department of microbiology, immunology, and pathology at Colorado State University, Emily Gallichotte, says that the SARS CoV-2 pathogen is a respiratory virus and is wholly contained within the respiratory tract and lungs of the infected person. It rarely can get into the blood of an individual.
Moreover, for a virus to transmit through an insect bite (mosquito or tick), the virus should be able to replicate within the insect. Plus, for a virus to travel to a person’s body through a mosquito or other insect bite-such as a tick bite-the virus has to be able to replicate inside the mosquito or tick.
Former US Navy entomologist and technical advisor to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), Joseph M. Conlon, who is also experienced in mosquito control globally, says that it is a very intricate process. A specific amount of virus must be picked by the mosquito when it bites. The virus would then have to survive through its digestive process, replicate in the mosquito, and then go through the gut wall to the main body cavity of the mosquito. After which it would need to go to the salivary glands and then become a part of the salivary secretion of the mosquito.
Gallichotte further adds that the genes of the mosquitoes are very different from that of the humans, and the viruses aren’t capable of infecting both humans and insects. The receptors on our surface cells and replication machinery within our cells are different.
There are very less human viruses that can infect both humans and mosquitoes. There are many human viruses such as HIV, influenza, and herpes that the humans have been infected from for a long time and despite these viruses coming in our blood they have been unable to affect the mosquitoes. In the similar way, there are many mosquito viruses that cannot infect the humans. As of now, there are no coronaviruses that are known to infect the mosquitoes, says Gallichotte.
Scientific program manager at the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (SGVMVCD), Melissa Doyle, says that the West Nile virus can be transmitted to the humans by mosquito bites. It is the West Nile virus that causes dengue. The chikungunya virus is also caused by mosquito bites and the virus circulates in the blood of people that are infected with it. The West Nile virus infects the mosquito in a way that there is a lot of viruses present in the salivary glands of the mosquitoes. When the infected mosquito bites a healthy person, the virus travels from its salivary glands to the body of the human and transmits the disease.
For now, people don’t have to worry about getting Covid-19 from mosquito bites. However, SGVMVCD Public Information Officer, Levy Sun, says that the pandemic is already causing mayhem, and the people are worried about the Covid-19 virus. But they shouldn’t forget that the mosquitoes are also a threat to our health and they must take preventive measures.
Joseph M. Conlon makes us aware by saying that the mosquitoes can be one of the factors which could make Covid-19 severe. Several studies reveal that underlying medical issues and diseases like neurological condition which causes ones coughing ability to weaken or a stressed immune system which is caused because of a mosquito bite may weaken one’s ability to recover from Covid-19.
It is significant that we follow the guidelines that have been set by the health authorities to protect ourselves from the coronavirus. People must practice social distancing and wash their hands regularly to keep safe from the virus. Mosquitoes are also a nuisance and relevant measures must be taken to evade their bites.
As of now this information provided by the experts is true but since Covid-19 is growing and evolving by the day there may be some data changes. However, we will keep you updated by providing you with information received through relevant resources.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. Anti Vibration Technologies does not claim responsibility for this information.
Originally published at https://antivibrationtable.com on June 16, 2020.