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Mosquitoes and the spread of COVID-19

Published on Apr 28, 2020

Bartow, Fla. (April 28, 2020) – As the start of this year’s mosquito season nears, Polk County residents can take comfort in knowing that the pesky insects cannot spread COVID-19. It’s a question members of the Polk Parks and Natural Resources Mosquito Control Team are asked frequently.

“For a mosquito to transmit viruses, the virus must be able to multiply inside the female mosquito and then make its way to her salivary gland,” said Mosquito Control Manager Carl Boohene. “When an infected mosquito bites someone, it injects the virus into that person and they become infected and can become sick.  Mosquito-borne viruses that spread like this include West Nile, Zika, Dengue Fever, and others.”

In comparison, COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from sneezing or coughing. People who are infected with COVID-19 can have symptoms of illness, however people without symptoms are able to spread the virus, too.

As for protecting Polk County from mosquito-borne illnesses, the Mosquito Control Team started limited spraying in March and that program is ongoing, although on a much smaller scale. They expect the full spraying program to begin in May.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 please practice social distancing, wear a cloth face covering or mask when you go out of your home, clean your hands often, avoid touching of the eyes, nose and mouth, cough and sneeze into your elbow, and regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces.