Fact Check: Can Houseflies Spread COVID-19?

The Logical Indian fact check team investigated the claim that Novel coronavirus can be transmitted by houseflies.

India   |   30 March 2020 10:28 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-04-29T13:19:31+05:30
Fact Check: Can Houseflies Spread COVID-19?

Image credit: Shriny/Twitter, Pixabay

Veteran Bollywood Actor Amitabh Bachchan recently shared a video on Twitter where he says, "If the house fly sits on this excreta and then on some food articles and spread the disease. So, it is very important that we start a people's movement against this, just like we did under the leadership of the Prime Minister to make the country open defecation free."

Bachchan quoted a Lancet study titled, "Screening of faecal microbiota transplant donors during the COVID-19 outbreak: suggestions for urgent updates from an international expert panel."

"T 3481 - A study in the @TheLancet shows that coronavirus lingers on human excreta much longer than in respiratory samples.

Come on India, we are going to fight this!

Use your toilet: हर कोई, हर रोज़, हमेशा । Darwaza Band toh Beemari Band!" he wrote in his tweet accompanying the video.

Hindustan Times reported that PM Modi has retweeted Bachchan's Tweet.

The tweet led to the spread of a viral WhatsApp Forward which reads, "New study by China proves that houseflies can transmit Corona Virus. This information has been recently confirmed by the Government of India. Amitabh Bachchan appointed to spread this important message."

The tweet is now unavailable.

One of our community members asked us to verify the claim.


According to the study, "Evidence has shown that the SARS-CoV-2 can be found in faeces, and that stool samples can remain positive for the virus even when it is no longer detectable in the respiratory tract, suggesting the possibility of a faecal-oral route of transmission. This concept is supported by the presence of gastrointestinal symptoms in some patients affected by COVID-19."

Claim:

Novel coronavirus can be transmitted by houseflies.

Fact Check

The claim is misleading.

No established scientific evidence to determine the spread of the CoronaVirus through houseflies.

We began our investigation by traversing through the prominent literature available on spread on the novel coronavirus.

"This is an infectious case and does not spread through flies or mosquitoes. The cases are increasing, but there is a stable trend in the number of cases and it is due to social distancing and also contact tracing," Health Ministry official Lav Agarwal said at a press conference on March 26.

"I have not seen the tweet, but technically I can say that this is an infectious disease and does not spread through flies," he added.

According to WHO the new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.

How Does COVID-19 Spread?

According to the CDC, the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person: between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

The Lancet study referred to by Bachchan does not specifically mention that houseflies can spread COVID-19. The study mainly talks about the ways to screen prospective donors for faecal microbiota transplantation, so as not to leave any ambiguity about them being silent carriers of the Novel Coronavirus.

In this regard, the study says, "In all countries, before each donation, physicians should screen for two main items: the presence of typical COVID-19 symptoms (including fever, fatigue, dry cough, myalgia, dyspnoea, and headache) within the previous 30 days; and the donor's history of travel to regions known to be affected by COVID-19 or close contact with individuals with proven or suspected infection, within the previous 30 days."

The study suggests that if either of these items is positive, the potential donor should either be rejected or tested with RT-PCR assay for SARS-CoV-2.

"These suggestions should be tailored to local health-care organizations, and should be updated accordingly as further insight into COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 is gained," the study adds.

According to the American Mosquito Control Association "For a virus to pass to a person through a mosquito or tick bite, the virus must be able to replicate inside the mosquito or tick."

Therefore, there is no clear evidence to believe that Coronavirus can be spread through Houseflies, yet.

If you have any news that you believe needs to be fact-checked, please email us at factcheck@thelogicalindian.com or WhatsApp at 6364000343

Also Read: Fact Check: Netflix Korean Drama Predicted Coronavirus Outbreak In 2018?

Claim Review :  Novel coronavirus can be transmitted by houseflies.
Claimed By :  Amitabh Bachchan
Fact Check :  Misleading
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Aditi Chattopadhyay

Aditi Chattopadhyay

Fact Checker

"I like to read, cook my own food and note down witty lines. Fact checking reminds of the time when I was a kid and would go hunting for whatever caught my fancy in that moment."

Prateek Gautam

Prateek Gautam

Digital Editor

I'm a free soul with the firm belief that journalism, apart from politics, should stand for social cause and environment.

Aditi Chattopadhyay

Aditi Chattopadhyay

Fact Checker

"I like to read, cook my own food and note down witty lines. Fact checking reminds of the time when I was a kid and would go hunting for whatever caught my fancy in that moment."

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