Health con­cerns around flies

The Manica Post - - Local News - Dr Zuze

FLIES are not only a nui­sance; they also pose se­ri­ous health con­cerns and are re­spon­si­ble for spread­ing mul­ti­ple killer dis­eases.

House­flies mainly spread in­fec­tious dis­eases caused by bac­te­ria, viruses, pro­to­zoa and even worms.

There are over 100 dis­ease caus­ing or­gan­isms as­so­ci­ated with flies and in most in­stances the fly acts only as a car­rier.

Diar­rhoeal dis­eases are some of the more com­mon in­fec­tions spread by house­flies. This in­cludes bac­te­ria such as E. coli, Shigella and campy­lobac­ter. These bac­te­ria are found in the stool of peo­ple with these ill­nesses.

Some of the dis­eases spread by house flies in­clude an­thrax, cholera, con­junc­tivi­tis, diph­the­ria, dysen­tery, food poi­son­ing, lep­rosy, tra­choma, ty­phoid fever and tu­ber­cu­lo­sis.

The house­fly spreads dis­ease through sev­eral routes. It is at­tracted to food by its sense of smell. It can­not eat solid food so it vom­its on solid food to make a so­lu­tion which it then sucks up.

Adult flies de­light in spu­tum, fae­ces, dis­charges from wounds and open sores. Mostly, dis­ease caus­ing or­gan­isms are spread on its body, through its mouth parts or through its vomit or fae­ces as the rest­less fly moves be­tween food and filth. House­flies also feed in­dis­crim­i­nately on a wide range of or­ganic mat­ter, from fae­ces to food (fruits, veg­eta­bles and meat). It is through this con­tact with the item it is feed­ing upon and even di­rect con­tact with peo­ple that dis­ease caus­ing agents are ac­quired and passed on.

Some­times just a few mi­cro-or­gan­isms are re­quired to cause se­ri­ous dis­ease. The con­tam­i­nated mat­ter con­tain­ing these or­gan­isms, and even just the or­gan­is­mit­self that are ac­quired from one source may ad­here to the fly or be passed out in its vom­i­tus and fae­ces.

The con­tam­i­nated mat­ter and mi­crobes are then passed onto food once the fly lands and feeds on it. The sit­u­a­tion is fur­ther wors­ened if the food is not re­frig­er­ated al­low­ing the mi­crobes to mul­ti­ply be­fore the food is eaten.

Sim­ple mea­sures in and around the home can pre­vent flies from caus­ing se­ri­ous dis­eases. Proper waste dis­posal elim­i­nates fly breed­ing sites and also lim­its con­tact be­tween flies and dis­ease caus­ing or­gan­isms. Dis­pose of soiled adult and baby di­a­pers prop­erly. Con­sider al­ter­na­tives for com­post heaps which are good fly breed­ing sites. Open wounds, sores and in­fected eyes can serve as sources of in­fec­tion. Cover food items dur­ing prepa­ra­tion and be­fore eat­ing.

House flies can­not be com­pletely erad­i­cated. Even the best ef­forts in the home will usu­ally just re­duce the fly pop­u­la­tion which can quickly re­turn. In or­der to pre­vent dis­eases, the fly’s con­tact with peo­ple, food and eat­ing uten­sils should there­fore be pre­vented or in­ter­rupted.

Self-clos­ing doors and screens over doors and win­dows are very ef­fec­tive in pre­vent­ing flies from en­ter­ing the home.

Even elec­tric fans blow­ing air over a door­way can im­pede flies from en­ter­ing the home.

When these mea­sures are un­able to stop flies en­tirely, then aerosol sprays and fly traps may be al­ter­na­tives. In­sec­ti­cide sprays kill some flies and re­pel oth­ers.

Fly traps will at­tract flies more than food does in the home and even­tu­ally kill them. A clean house with clean sur­round­ings is the best an­swer to the fly prob­lem.

So re­mem­ber, these flies are ac­tu­ally deadly killers which we need to be wary of.

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