With the rainy season now in Thailand and in many Asian countries and with warnings of Dengue expected to be prevailing, many are also concerned as to whether the mosquito season that typically accompanies the rainy season can also contribute to the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
You cannot blame people for their concerns considering that these bloodsuckers are known to transmit diseases. Hence the question: Do mosquitoes carry the coronavirus? And if so, can they transmit it to humans and infect a person with COVID-19?
The straightforward answer is: it's unlikely.
Official health guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) says there’s no information or evidence to suggest that the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus could be transmitted through mosquito bites.
Firstly it should be noted that the coronavirus is a respiratory virus, and the main mode of transmission are viral droplets released into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. For a mosquito to become infected with a virus, it must be present in the blood the mosquito feeds on.
Dr Emily Gallichotte, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of microbiology, immunology, and pathology at Colorado State University said, “SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is a respiratory virus that is almost exclusively contained within the lungs and respiratory tract of infected people, and rarely gets into the blood.”
In addition, for a virus to pass to a person through a mosquito or other kind of insect bite such as a tick bite the virus must be able to replicate inside the mosquito or tick. Neither the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus nor any other type of coronavirus has been shown to do that.
Former US Navy entomologist Dr Joseph M. Conlon, who has extensive worldwide experience in mosquito control and is technical advisor to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), said “It’s quite a complex process. First of all, the mosquito would have to pick up the requisite amount of virus during its bite. The virus must then not only survive the digestive process, but replicate within the mosquito and pass through the gut wall to the coelom (main body cavity) of the mosquito. From there it must make its way to the salivary glands and be expressed by the mosquito as part of its salivary secretions.”
Despite all these statements, some other medical experts are claiming that they are not really sure and that real studies need to be conducted.
Also it has been proven in many published studies that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus had been detected in the blood samples of numerous patients. But what is not known is whether the virus can survive in the mosquitoes and be passed on.
Till more research is done on this, the question is still debatable from many perspectives. The statements from WHO has to be taken lightly has they have been proven many times in the past on statements they had released to be wrong.
People should still ensure maximum precautions against mosquito bites as there are other diseases that they could contract especially Dengue.
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