Can Flies Cause Food Poisoning?

Can Flies Cause Food Poisoning?

Flies are not a direct cause of food poisoning, but they can carry harmful pathogens and germs. Flies can land on food and can transmit disease if they contact it with their droppings. This can lead to stomach upset, diarrhea and vomiting. Some people worry that eating food with flies might make them sick. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid fly-contaminated food.

When flies land on a meal, they vomit fecal matter onto it, breaking it down. This vomit contains bacteria and viruses from the fly’s last meal. The amount of pathogen that is transmitted from fly vomit to your food is usually minimal. However, if you eat flies’ vomit, you run the risk of getting food poisoning.

Fortunately, you can avoid flies by avoiding areas where they breed. Houseflies are likely to be in urban areas such as food markets, dumpsites, and household waste, but they can also infest food sources in rural areas, such as farms and animals. The bacteria they carry, known as E. coli, can cause serious food poisoning. Symptoms can start three to five days after contact with the flies.

Flies are an environmental nuisance. Their presence in the kitchen can spoil the enjoyment of a family barbecue. However, they are also known vectors of various pathogens and diseases. Depending on the species, flies can be a serious health threat, so it is important to avoid eating them. To control flies, use air conditioners, window meshes, and modified lighting. The female horsefly, known as the drain fly, is particularly dangerous, carrying a disease called equine infectious anemia virus. It also can transmit trypanosomes.