There has been repeated speculation on social media forums, such as Facebook, that coronavirus can be spread by mosquito bites.

This is not true.

The coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, is a respiratory virus. It is present in saliva and mucus from the nose and is spread through tiny droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even speaks.

Infection occurs when these droplets land in the mouths and noses of people nearby, but they can also be transmitted via the wet surface of the eyes.

Infected people who have no symptoms may still pass on the infection.

The virus can survive on surfaces or objects and people can get infected by touching something contaminated and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. It is not thought to be a “blood-borne” virus, so is unlikely to be transmitted like malaria.

 

Where did the story come from?

The claim was originally published on Facebook but seems to have since been removed. It has also surfaced on a variety of other social media platforms as people speculated about where this new infection could have come from and how it could be spread.

Joseph Conlon, a scientist from the American Mosquito Control Association says he has received claims that the American government is covering up information about this transmission route. He confirms that in his opinion “the possibility of mosquito transmission of the coronavirus is nil”.

 

What is the basis for the claim?

COVID-19 has been linked in many peoples’ minds with Zika, a previously little-known disease which spread from Africa to South and North America in 2015-2016, causing widespread concern. However, Zika is caused by a different sort of virus that spreads among humans by the bites of infected mosquitos.

Despite the fact there is no evidence that coronavirus can infect mosquitos, the possibility continues to be raised.

 

What do trusted sources say?

The World Health Organisation is quite clear that there is no evidence to date suggesting mosquitos can transmit coronavirus. It says infected droplets from the mouths and noses of people suffering the disease are the key route of transmission and reiterates the recommendation that frequent hand washing is the best way to protect oneself against it.

Similarly, the US Centers for Disease Control says it has no data suggesting COVID-19 is spread by mosquito or tick bites and says person to person contact is the main risk.

Analysis by EIU Healthcare, supported by RB

 

Citation

  1. The CD and WHO Have Already Said Mosquitos Don’t Spread Coronavirus. Now USDA Will Study It, Too. 15 April 2020. https://www.propublica.org/article/the-cdc-and-who-have-already-said-mosquitoes-dont-spread-coronavirus-now-usda-will-study-it-too(Accessed 16 April 2020)

Reading list

  1. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Frequently Asked Questions 14 April 2020 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html(Accessed 16 April 2020)
  2. WHO. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public. Myth busters 2020. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters(Accessed 16 April 2020)
  3. WHYY public media organization. How bats, mosquitos, humans and other mammals factor into the coronavirus story. 27 March 2020. https://whyy.org/articles/how-bats-mosquitos-humans-and-other-mammals-factor-into-the-coronavirus-story/(Accessed 16 April 2020)