Flies may be a small animal, but they are definitely not the safest one. The number of diseases a house fly carries on its feet is more than you can probably imagine. Normally, we just shoo away whenever we see a fly hanging around our place. But have you ever thought about the kind of rubbish and dirt a common fly must be carrying on? Of course, you know that flies hang out at all kinds of dumps, dirty places, even sewers. And when they leave such places, they always pick up germs along with dirt on their feet. Now that you do know that, you should probably become more careful of them.
So, exactly what kind of diseases or disease-causing germs do flies carry around? Let’s find out.
But, first things first.
In order to understand how flies carry around germs and cause diseases, it is important to understand the eating habits of flies, which along with their feet are the main carriers of diseases.
Eating Habits of Flies
Flies can and do eat everything. This includes all kinds of garbage, waste, rotten things as well as fresh dairy, vegetables and meat. They are particularly favoured to sweet treats, especially sugar. Flies taste through their feet, which means everything they eat must first go through their feet.
Now, the problem is that the same feet that were probably on garbage not a long time ago can be on the fresh food in your kitchen or fridge right now. Flies will eat all kinds of waste, including rotten food, animal faeces, etc. When they sit on such a waste item, the pathogens from the source get stuck on their feet as well as accumulate in their digestive system. Then they carry these germs, bacteria and diseases along with them and leave it on your fresh food. And when you eat that food, you invite diseases in your body.
In short, the food becomes infected if it has been exposed to flies or similar animals for a considerable period, and the infection can transmit to your body if you eat that food.
Now, let’s come to the point.
What Kind of Diseases Can You Get from Flies?
Now, you must be wondering about the kinds of diseases one can get from house flies or the types of infections they might transmit to humans. If so, here’s the answer.
According to studies, flies can carry and transit as many as 65 types of diseases, from common fever to viral diseases, cholera and a variety of infections. This is due to their unhealthy eating habits and also because they have access to a large number of areas.
Did you know a fly can travel up to 30 km in order to find food? And they can carry all types of waste and garbage from their journey and end up pouring it all out on your food. This is why it’s important to take special precautions to keep your food safe from such infectious insects. (More on this later.)
Coming back to the point, flies can spread a wide variety of diseases, including both basic and serious illness, especially if a person ends up eating the food touched by the fly’s feet.
Here are some of the major diseases one can get from flies:
- Enteric infections – dysentery, typhoid, cholera, diarrhoea, among others.
- Helminth infections
- Eye infections – trachoma and epidemic conjunctivitis
- Skin infections – yaws, mycoses, cutaneous diphtheria and leprosy
Anthrax is an infectious disease that is caused by a bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. This is often transmitted through house flies. Symptoms include fever, skin boils, cough, headache and lung inflammation.
Cholera is another infection-borne disease that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholera. House flies play a major role in the spread of this infection and bacteria.
Leprosy is a chronic infection also called by bacteria. Flies usually play a role in transmitting the infection or as a bacteria carrier.
Tuberculosis disease is generally caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria and can be spread by house flies. Symptoms include chills, fever and loss of appetite.
Typhoid is an infectious fever caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi. It can often result in severe fever, diarrhea, and weakness. Common house flies can act as a carrier of the disease.
Yaws is a skin infection that can also sometimes spread to the bones and joints, causing pain. The spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum pertenue is the main source of this disease.
How to Keep Yourself & Your Family Safe from Fly-Borne Diseases
Now that you know how dangerous house flies can be and the types of diseases they can transmit or spread, you must be worried about a solution. So, here are the best tips to control flies and protect yourself from them.
Use insecticides – Insecticides are chemicals that can kill or seriously harm a variety of insects, including flies. You can find some in your local grocery store.
Use Physical Means such as electrocuting grids, sticky tapes, etc. to catch and kill flies.
Pest Control – If all other means fail and you are still not able to control the problem, the best solution is to hire a professional pest control service provider like Pest Control Corp for complete insect control at your place. This will remove all the flies and other harmful insects from your place on a more permanent basis. It is recommended to get Pest Control done at your place every couple of months.
Besides this, following proper hygiene and sanitation practices almost always works when dealing with the insect problem. Keep your bathrooms, kitchens and toilets clean and dry. Get rid of the garbage on a daily basis. Don’t leave food unattended. And clean your fridge regularly.