Flies carry a number of diseases and parasites. Many of these pathogens are very infectious and can infect humans. Flyborne diseases include cholera and dysentery. These diseases can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. Symptoms may appear within a few days, or they may take up to two weeks.
In order to determine which pathogens flies carry, researchers sequenced the DNA from several fly species. They discovered that houseflies and blowflies contain Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that causes stomach ulcers in humans. This discovery highlights the potential for flies to carry dangerous bacteria and viruses.
Fortunately, the majority of diseases caused by flies can be prevented. Although it’s impossible to completely avoid exposure to flies, there are several ways to protect yourself against the harmful microorganisms. First of all, keep your clothes clean and dry. Clothing that is not properly laundered can attract flies, which can carry diseases such as malaria. In addition, if you come into contact with a fly’s larva, you can get myiasis, which is common in tropical and subtropical areas.
A study conducted at Penn State University in Pennsylvania found that houseflies and blowflies carry more bacteria than previously thought. The researchers examined the microbiomes of 116 different species of flies and found that some of these flies carry hundreds of different types of bacteria that can be harmful to humans.