Mosquitoes are a common enemy of summer time which are known vectors of West Nile virus, Zika, Chikungunya and many other diseases that infect humans, but what about the new coronavirus?
As the weather warms up and many transfer their stay-at-home orders to their garden, the question of whether you can get COVID-19 from a mosquito bite continues to surface.
There are several types of human coronaviruses, including MERS and SARS, each of which has caused fatal epidemics. COVID-19, however, has never been seen before and is caused by SARS-CoV-2. Overall, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in humans and can affect different species of animals, but an animal coronavirus can rarely infect a human and then spread between humans. However, such cases have been observed with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, and have also been documented with COVID-19, which is caused by SARS-CoV-2.
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And recently, researchers have confirmed that humans are transmitting the virus to tigers at the Bronx Zoo. It has also been reported outside of the United States that pets – especially cats – become infected after close contact with contagious people.
It is generally believed that the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly spread from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. However, it is also possible to spread when the droplets of an infected person are transferred to a surface, and an uninfected person then touches the contaminated surface and then transfers it to their face.
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This then raises the question of whether a mosquito bites an infected person and then lands on an uninfected person, can the disease be transferred?
“There have been no reports of the spread of coronavirus to humans by mosquitoes,” infectious disease and internal medicine specialist Dr. Mary Schmidt told Fox News. “If it was a route of transmission, we would have seen it in the Middle East, where Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) caused by coronavirus has been present for 6 years.”
Schmidt referred to a study which found that if mosquitoes were fed a meal of MERS coronavirus blood, it has been detected up to one day in the insect. However, for this to become a threat to humans, a series of special events would have to occur.
“For this to happen in real life, mosquitoes would have to acquire the virus during feeding, the virus then replicates in intestinal tissue, spreads to secondary sites of replication, including the salivary glands, and is ultimately released into the salivary secretions of the arthropod, where it can be inoculated into the skin and cutaneous vascular system of the host (human) during subsequent feeding, “said Schmidt.
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Based on these results, Schmidt said mosquitoes should continue to be monitored. The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) also said it would continue to monitor the situation in collaboration with public health officials.
In early March, the World Health Organization (WHO) said there was no information or evidence to suggest that COVID-19 could be transmitted by mosquitoes.