Do Mosquitoes and Ticks Transmit COVID-19? NPMA Experts Say No

According to new research, there were over 4m online conversations in March on the topic of pests and their ability to transmit COVID-19.

Because the gravitas of the current COVID-19 pandemic is already at an apex without the addition of speculation, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has set out to dispel at least one misconception about pests and how the disease is being spread.

“The amount of information people are receiving right now, whether fact or fiction, is enough to make anyone’s head spin,” said Jim Fredericks, Ph.D., chief entomologist for the NPMA. “At this time, there is currently no evidence to suggest that pests like mosquitoes and ticks can be implicated in the transmission of COVID-19. They are, however, able to transmit other serious diseases such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease. With summer right around the corner and people spending more time outdoors than ever before, vigilant pest prevention efforts will be paramount to public safety.”

To help Americans decipher the true threats associated with pests, NPMA is breaking down the most common culprits of disease transmission and how to protect against them.

Mosquitoes are vectors of numerous diseases, including West Nile virus, Zika virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, malaria, yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and more.

Symptoms range from mild to severe, and all can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.

Where they’re found: Outdoors, especially near standing water. Even something as small as a bottle cap can support the development of hundreds of biting mosquitoes.

Prevention Tip: Conduct weekly inspections around the property and empty any containers of standing water, as mosquitoes only need half an inch of water to breed.

Ticks such as the blacklegged tick are able to transmit Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and babesiosis.

Other tick species such as the American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick and brown dog tick are able to transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is fatal in 20% of cases if not caught early enough.

Where they’re found: Overgrown vegetation at tree lines and foot trails through high grass.

Prevention Tip: Keep grass cut low, including around fence lines, sheds, trees, shrubs, swing sets and other difficult-to-cut locations.

Rodents like the common house mouse are able to spread Salmonella, while Norway rats and roof rats are also able to transmit plague, typhus, leptospirosis, rat-bite fever, trichinosis and more. Inhaling dust that contains mouse droppings or urine can exacerbate asthma and allergy symptoms as well, especially in children.

Where they’re found: In homes and businesses, rodents are well adapted to live in close association with human activity.

Prevention Tip: Seal all holes larger than a dime and gaps wider than the diameter of a pencil (1/4 inch) to prevent rodents from getting indoors, as mice can fit through holes the size of a dime and rats the size of a quarter.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 5,500 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property from the diseases and dangers of pests.

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