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VERIFY: No, a mosquito cannot pass COVID-19 to humans. Here's why

A mosquito is an insect. It doesn't have lungs. It breathes through its exoskeleton, so it can’t spread a virus through the air.

DALLAS — Mosquito season is here. That means mosquito bites are also here. 

We had several viewers email the WFAA Verify team, asking about the connection between the COVID-19 virus and the mosquito's ability to host it and transfer it to humans.

THE QUESTION

If a mosquito bites a person who has COVID-19, can that mosquito pass it to a person that does not have COVID-19?

THE SOURCE

Dr. Mo Rezaie, internal medicine physician for Fort Worth Primary Care

Dr. Michael Levy, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine

Dr. Michael Angarone, associate professor for Northwestern Medicine's Division of infectious diseases

THE ANSWER

Since mosquitos are unable to host or pass along COVID-19, these insects can't spread COVID-19 if they bite a person who is already infected.

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WHAT WE FOUND

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, meaning it's passed through the air. The main way it is transmitted is through viral droplets that come from an infected person's cough or sneeze.

A mosquito is an insect. It doesn't have lungs. It breathes through its exoskeleton, so it can’t spread a virus through the air.

"When the COVID-19 virus invades a human body, it's seen as a foreign object, so that's when a human's immune system lights up," Rezaie said. "Inside the mosquito, this just doesn't happen with the COVID-19 virus."

When a mosquito does pass a virus to a human, it comes from a bite -- or the insect's salivary glands. It has to survive in the gut and eventually get pushed out to and through its salivary glands. Then when it bites someone for blood, it can push it out into the human.

COVID-19 can’t replicate inside the mosquito, so it can't be passed along, either.

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"There'd be no way for the virus to get from the mosquito's gut, if a mosquito did somehow be able to pick it up, back into another person," Levy said. "Just like you can't get a cold or the flu from a mosquito, you can't get COVID."

Not only that, but health experts say since a mosquito survives long enough on the blood that comes from a single bite that it is very unlikely for it to immediately bite someone else.

"We don't produce enough virus in our blood," Angarone said. "When a mosquito bites me, and then if it immediately goes to bite you—which mosquitoes don't, they usually get their fill just from me—there's not enough virus for it to transmit it to you. There's no evidence for mosquitos passing this virus."