NASHVILLE, Tenn.--An infectious disease expert says Tennesseans don't need to worry about catching COVID-19 from summer insects such as ticks or mosquitoes.
FOX 17 News contacted Dr. David Aronoff, Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center following questions on the topic raised by some viewers.
While diseases such as malaria and West Nile virus are spread by mosquitoes, the big difference in COVID-19 is it is a respiratory virus. "Right now, we have no information that insects can transmit COVID," says Dr. Aronoff. The primary difference is not only are other mosquito-borne viruses caused by blood transmission, mosquitoes are a bad host choice for COVID-19.
"Many times, virues have particular hosts. COVID transmits through the respiratory tract," Dr. Aronoff says. "Insects are not involved in spreading from one animal to another. Theses viruses don't find it hospitable enough to replicate in a mosquito."
That ability to replicate plays a key role in why experts do not believe mosquitoes or ticks could spread it to humans even if they bit a person infected with the virus. "Viruses tend to match," Dr. Aronoff says. Zika can exist in the blood of an infected person. But respiratory viruses like the flu and common cold are not able to thrive in an insect environment."
As Tennesseans make a return to the outdoors during the summer months, contracting the virus from an insect is one less worry, even if other germs they spread remain. As Dr. Aronoff says, "Its not an important concern."