No, mosquitos cannot spread Covid-19

Tiger mosquitos are more present than ever this year in France leading to fears they could spread Covid-19 – but this is false and there is no evidence for this.

Published Last updated

Scientists say tiger mosquitos can spread some illnesses but not Covid-19.

In 2020 more than half of French departments have an active presence of tiger mosquitos, especially in the south.

First spotted in France in the early 2000s, they are originally from south-east Asia, and can spread diseases such as dengue fever, zika and chikungunya. Advice on minimising their spread includes avoiding leaving stagnant water in any containers outside.

Unsurprisingly, there have recently been fears that they could also further spread the Covid-19 disease, however experts including the World Health Organisation and official French anti-mosquito agency Entente Interdépartementale de Démoustication (EID) say this is not the case.

The French Croix-Rouge charity also confirms this, sharing information from the WHO, to the effect that the coronavirus responsible for Covid-19 cannot be transmitted by mosquito bites.

The WHO states that it is essentially transmitted by contact with an infected person, notably from droplets expelled when the person coughs or sneezes, or by contact with secretions from their saliva or nose.

“There is at present absolutely no information or element of proof which would allow us to think that Covid-19 could be transmitted by mosquitos,” the WHO said.

“To protect yourself avoid all close contact with a person who has a fever or is coughing, and practice good hygiene gestures.”

A EID medical entomologist (insect expert), Gregory L’Ambert, said on Twitter: “All entomologists have come to the same conclusion.

“Mosquitos can certaintly transmit some pathogens, like dengue fever or chikungunya, but coronavirus? No. Mosquitos are not a flying syringe.”

He added: “From the point at which a mosquito takes blood from someone, it’s going to do what we all do – that is digest it’s blood meal.

“In order for a virus to be transmitted by the mosquito it would have to resist the digestion process, then be capable of infecting the mosquito’s stomach cells, then survive inside the mosquito to attain the salivary cells and multiply there, so that when the mosquito bites someone it is transmitted in the saliva.

“All these stages are very complicated and take thousands of years of evolution. We’ve not passed the first of a succession of indispensable stages to have transmission by mosquitos.”

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France