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Coronavirus (COVID-19) is on everyone’s mind, prompting many questions. With warm weather around the corner, one of those questions might be, “Can mosquitoes spread Coronavirus to humans?”
For a mosquito to infect humans, the virus must be able to replicate in its gut and salivary glands, but it can’t. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) all agree that mosquitoes are not a vector of COVID-19 simply because if a mosquito can’t become infected, it can’t spread the disease to its host.
COVID-19 is spread by airborne droplets from a sneeze or cough, and by touching a contaminated surface. For COVID-19 education provided by the CDC, click here.
Many states have imposed a stay-at-home order, prompting families to spend more time outside. This increase in outdoor activities gives hungry mosquitoes plenty of opportunities to feed on families taking in the fresh air. Even if mosquitoes can’t spread Coronavirus, they can still spread other harmful diseases.
Three of the most common mosquito-borne diseases in North America include:
Humans become infected with West Nile Virus (WNV) primarily through mosquitoes, although it can spread through blood transfusions, organ donations, and breastfeeding as well. In 2019, the CDC reported cases in almost all 50 states.
Symptoms of WNV are similar to the flu, and those infected usually recover in 14 days. However, life-threatening complications occur in about two percent of people, primarily in the elderly and the immunosuppressed.
Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in humans can cause a dangerous viral infection of the brain, which often inflicts permanent damage in survivors. According to the CDC, EEE has over a 30 percent fatality rate, so mosquito bite prevention is key.
In 2019, the US reported an unusually high number of EEE cases: 38 total in 10 states, 15 of which were fatal. To learn more about EEE symptoms and treatment, click here.
Mosquitoes feed on an array of warm-blooded mammals, which unfortunately includes our four-legged family members.
Heartworm is an invasive parasitic disease passed to canines through infected mosquitoes. Once a heartworm enters a bite wound, it reproduces inside the body of its host, consuming all essential nutrients. Over time, these parasites cause permanent damage to vital organs such as the heart and lungs.
Canine heartworm is easy to avoid. Ask your veterinarian if your furry companion’s medical record is up to date.
If you’ve noticed an increase in mosquitoes around your property, here are some tips to deter them:
Discard standing water in areas like shallow pools, pool covers, uncovered trash bins, birdbaths, and flower pots. These are common mosquito breeding sites, as mosquitoes only require a teaspoon of water to reproduce.
Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors and perfumes. Consider wearing long sleeves and pants that are light in color and always wear an EPA-approved insect repellent outside. To further avoid becoming a mosquito’s dinner, skip heavily fragrant hair and skincare products.