SCI-ART LAB

Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

Last week I faced an interesting situation. We were trying to 'educate' people on COVID 19.

One person asked me the Q, "Can houseflies transmit the disease COVID 19 and Corona virus?"

I said, "There is no evidence that they do".

Then this person said something that made me think very hard.

He said, "What does that mean? Can we go about eating fruits and sweets on which the flies sit? And still don't get the disease? Scientists say, there is no evidence, journalists say there is no evidence, myth busters say there is no evidence, fact-checkers say there is no evidence, WHO says there is no evidence . Every body says there is no evidence.

Is absence of evidence evidence of absence? What are you trying to achieve with this type of education? You are confusing us more".

How true?!

In the scientific circles, we try to be cautious. Without evidence, we don't want to take any risk.

We don't yet know whether houseflies can transmit the disease or not. Because no work has been done on it. Nothing has been found yet. But that doesn't mean that flies don't transmit the disease!

Because we know that we can make some connections.

Just saying that  'there is no evidence' will not help people in any way, especially when we have these interesting articles and papers to consider ...

 To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes or flies.

However, I found an article which says cockroaches and houseflies have the chance to  transmit the disease indirectly via faeces : A Brief Review on the Possible Role of Houseflies and Cockroaches in the Mechanical Transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

http://archcid.com/articles/102863.html

Not in humans but the role of houseflies in transmitting Turkey corona virus has been discussed in this paper

Mechanical transmission of turkey coronavirus by domestic houseflies (Musca domestica Linnaeaus).

So what is wrong with placing all the possible scenarios before people and asking them to be careful? 

I brought this to the notice of my scientist and sci-com colleagues and friends. But nobody said anything about it till now. 

Another thing I want to consider here is if we place these things before people, do we create unnecessary panic among people?

Okay, if we don't tell anything and just leave the topic by saying, 'There is no evidence', can the confused public become careless and have food contaminated by flies? That might bring more danger because flies transmit several other dangerous diseases too. And what if in the future if we get research results that say flies can transmit COVID 19? What if somebody  really gets the disease because of flies?

And what if then public and the media blame us for confusing them?

NO! This is not how we are supposed to do the sci-com. 

So I took grade C evidence* into consideration (used in the clinical context) and decided that 

this is what is an ideal way of doing it :

Q: Do mosquitoes and flies spread COVID19?

Krishna: No, they don't directly! To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes or flies.

However, I found an article which says cockroaches and houseflies have the chance to  transmit the disease indirectly via faeces : A Brief Review on the Possible Role of Houseflies and Cockroaches in the Mechanical Transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

http://archcid.com/articles/102863.html

Not in humans but the role of houseflies in transmitting Turkey corona virus has been discussed in this paper

Mechanical transmission of turkey coronavirus by domestic houseflies (Musca domestica Linnaeaus).

Houseflies and fruit-flies spread several diseases. There is nothing wrong in being cautious till the confusion is cleared and keeping these creepy crawlies away from your food. 

So be careful.

Bingo! I did sci-com in the right way. Now nobody can blame me. 

https://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum/topics/scientific-evid...

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