Houseflies And Blowflies Each Spread More Diseases Than Researchers Previously Thought
Much like cockroaches, houseflies and blowflies spread numerous strains of disease-causing bacteria to humans and human food sources. This should not be hard to believe considering that flies breed within pathogen-rich conditions, such as rotting carcasses, decaying fruits and feces. While flies are not categorized as direct disease vectors, they are well documented as being mechanical disease vectors. In other words, flies breeding within filthy conditions transport bacteria indoors, potentially causing humans to fall ill after making contact with fly-transported pathogens. Houseflies are well documented as spreading 65 diseases to humans, including typhoid fever, dysentery, cholera, poliomyelitis, yaws, anthrax, tularemia, leprosy and tuberculosis. However, researchers at Penn State have recently found that houseflies and blowflies spread more diseases than had previously been known to scientists.
Penn State researchers confirmed that houseflies carry H. pylori bacteria, which can cause serious stomach ulcers in humans. The fact that houseflies can transmit H. pylori was not known to scientists before this study was conducted. The researchers also found that urban flies carry more pathogens than rural flies, and this new research makes urban flies a serious public health threat that should be combated just as aggressively as other disease-causing insect species, like mosquitoes.
A recent survey found that 61 percent of all people would discard their meal if they spotted a cockroach crawling over their food, while a mere 3 percent of people would discard their meal if they spotted a common housefly on their food. This seems reasonable considering that cockroaches are much larger than flies and seemingly more disgusting, but while cockroaches are known to spread pathogens, they are not as dangerous to humans as filthy houseflies. In fact, flies are twice as filthy as cockroaches, and unlike cockroaches, flies gather a greater amount of pathogens on their legs and mouthparts after briefly landing on filthy surfaces. If a housefly lands on a person’s skin for a few seconds, many of the pathogens that are on their legs will become smeared onto their skin. So the next time you spot a “harmless” housefly crawling over your food, you may want to think twice before eating your now contaminated meal.
Have you ever experienced a fly infestation in your home?
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