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Do mosquitoes transmit coronavirus? Experts debunk myth

There is no truth to rumors that mosquitoes can transmit the novel coronavirus — but people should watch out for some other illnesses.
Mosquitos and Covid-19
TODAY illustration / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Health organizations and experts are debunking a myth that mosquitos can carry and transmit the novel coronavirus.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there has been "no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes."

Lawrence Stanberry, director of the programs in global health at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, said that in the past, researchers have tried to infect mosquitos with coronavirus for studies, 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," he said. "I don't know where those kinds of things come from."

"There's no evidence that mosquitoes can transmit coronavirus," said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, Maryland, and an infectious disease physician.

What are some mosquito-borne illnesses to be cautious of?

There might not be any concerns about mosquitos and coronavirus, but during mosquito season, it's important to keep an eye out for other illnesses like West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis, Zika and dengue fever.

"Mosquitos can transmit a variety of infectious diseases in the United States," said Adalja. "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."

To best avoid mosquitos and any diseases that they may carry, it's important to make sure that there is no area on your property where mosquitos can breed.

"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," said Adalja. Anything that holds water can be a mosquito breeding ground, so be careful to remove any containers or sites where water might gather, and try to clean up any damp or swampy areas.

Adalja also recommended avoiding areas that are known to have a lot of mosquitos and advised wearing appropriate clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, when in mosquito-laden areas. Bug sprays with EPA-approved ingredients will also help keep the pests away.