Most of the time, we associate flies with dirt and diseases, but it turns out they have a lot more pathogens than we thought. A few hundred viruses and disease-carrying particles are attached to their bodies, which are easily spread everywhere they go. However, researchers see a good part in all of it. By analyzing the migration of the insects, they believe they can monitor the evolution of diseases.
Flies are covered in harmful pathogens
Flies really enjoy flying around and landing on rotten carcasses, foods, and even feces. This is why it’s a good idea to keep our fresh food and products away from them. A recent study supports all these claims, as it has discovered that the insects can host hundreds of bacteria, which can turn out extremely harmful for us.
For the study, researchers collected genetic material from 116 species of flies, and from all the bacteria they housed on their bodies. This is how they discovered that, among all the microorganisms present on the insects, there was Helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach ulcers. Usually, it was transmitted from one person to another through body fluids, and this is the first time when researchers find another way one can get infected with the bacteria.
The findings can be of great importance for public health
Flies probably get the microbes on their bodies as they step on tainted surfaces. These pathogens stick to their legs and wings, and can easily get on other materials as the insects land on them. It’s their great capacity of the insects to be pollinators that makes it so easy for microbes to get attached to their bodies.
These results are far from pleasant, but they can be of great use for researchers. They want to release pathogen-free flies into an environment and study the bacteria which ends up on their bodies. This way, they can see what germs are present in a certain setting and how they spread.