Flies Inside Hospitals Carry Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

Recent research published in the Journal of Medical Entomology has shown that flies inside hospitals were carrying antibiotic resistant bacteria. The majority of the flying insects caught in the hospitals in England were carrying these potentially dangerous germs. These germs included E. coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus.

What’s worse, is that more than half of the bacteria found on the flying insects were resistant to antibiotic treatments. Penicillin was found to be among the least effective of the antibiotics, with vancomycin and levofloxacin not too far behind. This is a vivid reminder of how the overuse of antibiotics in healthcare settings is making infections more difficult to treat.

This may seem appalling to some, due to the high hygiene standards offered by healthcare institutions. However, the researchers responsible for the article have allayed fears that bacteria could cause any serious harm. Federica Boiocchi and Anthony Hilton, authors of the study, said that the risk of infection exists. However, contrary to what some believe, this risk is not as high as one might think.

The risk of infection brought into hospitals by insects depends on the length of exposure to bacteria carried by them. The study showed that flying insects like flies assuredly carry bacteria. In contrast, the amount of bacteria carried in most cases is not enough to cause infection of people or equipment.

This doesn’t mean, however, that the presence of flying insects within a hospital should go unnoticed. If left untreated, bacteria does multiply and after several hours may be enough to contaminate patients or medical equipment.

One of the study’s lead authors said that, as a majority, British hospitals are extremely clean environments. The author commented that the risk of bacterial infection from insects is “very low”. Regardless, it’s important to take steps to prevent bacteria entering a sterile environment via flying insects, flies especially.

During the study mentioned in this article, researchers used ultraviolet light fly traps to attract insects over an 18 month period. The insects were later analysed with scientific rigour.

Of the 19,937 individual bugs captured, flies (Diptera) were the most common, representing 73.4 per cent of the sample. These included species like common houseflies, bluebottles, greenbottles, midges, and mosquitoes. Other insects caught and analysed during the study included a mix of aphids, ants, wasps, bees, and moths. These were trapped by UV light traps and inspected for presence of bacteria.

The traps were positioned in maternity wards, neonatal wards and regular wards. Traps were placed amongst patients that were at the highest risk of harm rising alongside infection. The vast majority (73.4%) of insects captured were some species of fly.

What’s perhaps most interesting, though, is the high proportion of drug resistant bacteria found in these samples. 53% of the bacteria caught on flies were resistant to antibiotic treatments. Penicillin was found to be amongst the least effective of the antibiotics. The researchers pointed out that this is a crucial reminder about the tolerance humans and animals have developed towards antibiotics.

Antibiotics in healthcare settings are making infections less serious. However, their overuse has been criticised in other studies for developing a tolerance in patients who need them. This is due to overuse of antibiotics to treat conditions that don’t necessitate their use.

Another shocking finding of the study was the widespread occurrences of flies caught breeding in hospitals. Outdoor insects were caught in some numbers within the hospitals that participated in the study. The diversity of the insects caught by UV fly light traps was astonishing.

The fact is that the chance of acquiring an infection from a flying insect is low. However, it won’t hurt to reduce their populations in hospitals just to be safe.

If you work in a hospital environment and are concerned about the presence of flies, contact Vectothor today. We will happily provide an effective pest control solution to your hospital workplace.

Vectothor supplies a range of UV fly traps that are highly effective at attracting flies and removing fly populations. We help prevent bacteria being brought into healthcare settings via house flies and other insects with our UV light traps. We are open to trade between Monday and Friday, 8:00AM to 6:00PM. Contact us today on 13 35 36 to discuss your needs.

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