Can a mosquito bite give you Covid-19?

An Anopheles stephensi mosquito. Picture: REUTERS
An Anopheles stephensi mosquito. Picture: REUTERS

Mosquitos seem to be out in full force at the moment. As these blood suckers are known to spread diseases like malaria, their presence during a pandemic is not just annoying but also concerning: can these pests spread Covid-19?

If you are currently covered in itchy bites, rest assured because there is “no data to suggest this new coronavirus or similar coronaviruses are spread by mosquitoes”, states the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The World Health Organisation agrees, saying “to date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes”.

Prof John Frean, deputy director of microbiology at SA’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), said the same question was asked about HIV when the virus first emerged, and the answer in both cases is the same: No, it can’t be spread by mosquitoes.

For mechanical transmission by mosquitoes, there would need to be both a sufficient number of viruses in the blood and sufficient volume of blood transferred in its mouthparts when a mosquito feeding on an infected person is interrupted and moves to bite someone else. Neither requirement can be met,” he said.

“Biological transmission also cannot occur because SARS-CoV-2 will not multiply inside a mosquito — unlike the Zika or yellow fever viruses, for example.”

This article first appeared in the Sunday Times Lifestyle section.