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 the mosquito’s 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 it to its host.
COVID-19 is primarily spread by airborne droplets from a sneeze or cough, or by touching a contaminated surface. For COVID-19 education from the CDC, click here.
Mosquitoes still threaten your family
With many states enforcing a stay-at-home order, families are spending more time outdoors for a change in scenery. Although mosquitoes cannot spread Coronavirus, they can spread a number of other harmful diseases. And unfortunately, mosquitoes don’t practice social distancing, so you and your family members (including your four-legged ones) are still at risk of being infected by a mosquito bite.
Here are three primary disease concerns associated with mosquitoes:
West Nile Virus
Humans are primarily infected with West Nile Virus (WNV) by mosquitoes, although it can be spread through blood transfusions, organ donations, and breastfeeding as well. The CDC reported cases in nearly all 50 states in 2019.
Many people report mild flu-like symptoms after contracting WNV. Recovery generally takes two weeks, but a small percentage of patients develop life-threatening complications, mainly in the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis
Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a virus that can lead to a rare but serious brain infection often resulting in permanent damage to the central nervous system. The CDC reports that EEE claims the lives of 30 percent of its human hosts, so preventing the bite is crucial.
In 2019, the US saw a significant spike in EEE – 38 confirmed cases in 10 states, 15 of which resulted in death. Learn more about symptoms of EEE from the CDC here.
While mosquitoes favor human hosts, they have been known to feed on other warm-blooded mammals, like our furry companions.
Canine heartworm is a serious parasitic disease that is transmitted to dogs through infected mosquitoes. During a blood meal, the mosquito introduces heartworm through the bite wound. Over time, tiny worms multiply and wreak havoc on the heart, lungs, and arteries, while absorbing the host’s nutrients. If left untreated, the damage can be permanent or even fatal.
Fortunately, canine heartworm is preventable. Call your veterinarian to ensure your four-legged family member is up to date on medications and vaccines.
Ways to fight the bite
There are a number of ways you can avoid mosquito activity around your home. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your family as warm weather sets in:
Protecting your home
Avoid standing water, such as kiddie pools and covers, flower pots, trashcans, and birdbaths. Mosquitoes can breed with as little as a teaspoon of water.
Ensure all open windows and doors have secure, tear-free screens.
Protecting your skin
When possible, cover all extremities with light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants while outside and always wear an EPA-approved insect repellent. Mosquitoes are also attracted to perfumes, so avoid fragrant hairspray, cologne, and sunscreen.
Ehrlich is dedicated to keeping families safe from pests. For information on a preventative application to your lawn, call a mosquito control expert at 888-984-0186.