TAMPA, Fla. - With more of us spending time outdoors as the weather warms up, mosquitoes are becoming a problem. And many people are wondering whether they can transmit the novel coronavirus.
There is no evidence that mosquitoes can transmit the COVID-19 virus. The World Health Organization has maintained that position for some time now.
Dr. Eva Buckner, an expert at the University of Florida, explained that mosquitos have immune systems. They aren't as complex as ours, but they do serve as barriers preventing them from transmitting most viruses.
“Only those viruses that they transmit, such as Zika and West Nile, those viruses have been able to overcome those barriers through evolution. But there are viruses that they come in contact with, such as HIV, that they're not able to transmit because of their immune system basically breaking that virus down.”
Dr. Buckner says she doesn't know of any reports that mosquitoes have carried coronaviruses of any kind.
There are other reasons to protect yourself, though. The Health Department usually monitors for mosquito-transmitted viruses testing the blood of sentinel chickens. But in late March, due to COVID-19, the Health Department stopped testing sentinel chickens.
Before they stopped, in early March, they picked up the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus in Citrus and Orange counties, and, in late February, West Nile in Hillsborough.
Dr. Buckner recommends that you, eliminate standing water in your yard and protect yourself with clothing and repellants.