What Diseases do Flies Carry?

by | Last updated Mar 21, 2023 | Flies

Flies can compromise your BBQ with family, or summer evenings on your patio. More than that, pose a severe health threat, due to the pathogens they can carry.

The next time you see a fly, try extra hard to ensure it does not get to your food. Studies have shown that flies, regardless of their type, might carry harmful bacteria and diseases.

So, what diseases do flies carry?

These diseases vary due to various factors, including the type of insect, environment factors and more. The guide below takes a look at some of these diseases, and more.

What Diseases do Flies Carry?

Flies are likely to occur at urban places such as food courts, food markets, dumpsites, landfill, household waste and more. The rural sites include farms, especially those that have animals such as cattle.

The diseases, these insects are likely to carry include:

1.  E-coli

Experts believe that houseflies transmit E. coli, which is a severe disease. It can lead to various health issues, including vomiting, stomach cramps, fever, and blood in the stool.

Plus, symptoms will also come up after about three to five days after infection. That said, you may even notice its presence in as little as two weeks.

The common symptoms of E. coli can vary for each person. They might include stomach cramps, vomiting, cramps and more. Plus, some may experience a fever, with temperatures reaching up to 101˚F/38.5˚C.

2.  Anthrax

Refers to a bacterial infection, which occurs in various forms. These include in the intestines, lungs, skin and through injection. However, the skin form is related to flies and often appears as a swollen blister.

The blister will develop into a painless wound, with a black centre. Left unchecked, this infection can cause lots of discomfort and physical symptoms.

Biting flies are the most responsible for transferring Anthrax. With a few days, one might experience symptoms such as swelling, redness and more.

3.  Food Poisoning

Occurs when one consumes contaminated food. It’s a health condition that can lead to vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, loss of appetite and more.

While food poisoning will subside on its own, it can be a discomforting and unpleasant experience. Flies carrying dirt and pathogens are responsible for transmitting this illness.

It’s widespread among people who live in environments with lots of dirt.

The common signs of food poisoning include vomiting, fever, weakness, lack of appetite and headaches.

4.  Tularemia

Refers to a bacterial illness which can occur in various forms. The most common way it appears is as an ulceroglandular, that occurs around the affected area.

Plus, expect the ulcer to come with swollen and red lymph glands, that might arise under the armpit.

While it may be a rare infectious disease, it can lead to various other symptoms. These include joint pain, headaches, chills, fever and more. Plus, the disease is also famously referred to as a “deer fly” fever, or rabbit fever.

5.  Conjunctivitis

Occurs in the form of inflammation or swelling of the conjunctiva, which is a transparent membrane in the eye. The conjunctiva refers to a transparent tissue, which sits in the inner section of the eyelid.

It’s a common eye complication, which can spread quickly around populated areas. Among some of the common symptoms of the complication include swelling, tearing, and itching.

Many people refer to the disease as pink eye, which sometimes occurs due to the pathogens that houseflies can spread.

6.  Typhoid

Researchers have associated the disease with a type of bacteria referred to as Salmonella, which often comes with fever.

The disease is contagious and can occur when one consumes contaminated water. House flies are the common carriers of the pathogens and have various symptoms.

While the disease is curable and easy to control, it was challenging to manage before antibiotics use. The fatality rate for Typhoid and its related complications averaged at 20%.

More so, death occurred due to various issues such as pneumonia, intestinal perforation and more.

Studies on The Diseases that Flies Carry

It’s good for you to gain insight into some of the published literature and facts relating to the disease houseflies carry around. Its information that should give you a better perspective of flies and disease:

  • A recent study by Penn State’s Department of Entomology showed that Houseflies are responsible for spreading over 65 diseases to humans. These include a wide range of diseases including cholera, yaws, tularemia, leprosy and more.
  • Another study also showed that Bowflies and Houseflies are responsible for the transmission of H.Pylori. The flies are responsible for the transmission of over 15 instances of the disease. It’s a bacterial complication that can lead to ulcers in people.
  • In this study titled, “A systematic review of human pathogens carried by the housefly (Musca domestica L.), flies have various pathogens. These include fungi, parasites, bacteria and more. The study also shows that more research is needed to identify the types of pathogens flies can spread.

What You Can Do About It

These pathogens can easily compromise the quality of your life or even your daily schedule. However, below are some helpful tips to help you prevent the diseases that flies carry:

  • Practice optimal hygiene – flies thrive in unhygienic places. These include damp areas, puddles of water, bushes and more. So, get these areas clean, and do some DIY landscaping as well.
  • Learn more about flies – these insects vary in many ways. Gaining insight into some of them will make it easy for you to identify the diseases they can spread.
  • Install insect control measures – there are various measures you can use for controlling the presence of insects. These include air conditioners, window meshes, modified lighting and more.

FAQ on flies and diseases

Can flies make you sick, and what is the worst that can happen?

Yes, flies can make you sick because they can transmit various types of diseases and pathogens. Furthermore, they can also make life unpleasant at home.

What diseases do horseflies carry?

It’s only the female horseflies that bite during the production of larvae. They can transmit diseases such as equine infectious anemia virus, some trypanosomes.

Can flies cause food poisoning?

Yes, flies can cause food poisoning and even diarrhea. These are health complications that occur due to the presence of harmful bacteria in the stomach.

Next time you spot a fly, know that trouble is not far away. The good thing is that you can prevent any risk, such as the disease these insects carry when well informed.

Thus, if one asks, “what diseases do flies carry?” Tell, them the diseases vary, and staying savvy is an excellent way of preventing them.


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