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1-min read

Majority of Flies, Flying Insects in Hospitals Carry Harmful Bacteria, Study Reveals

The study says that more than half of the insects carry bacteria strains that are known as 'superbugs' that are resistant to antibiotics.

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Updated:June 24, 2019, 3:28 PM IST
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Majority of Flies, Flying Insects in Hospitals Carry Harmful Bacteria, Study Reveals
The study says that more than half of the insects carry bacteria strains that are known as 'superbugs' that are resistant to antibiotics.
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Buzzing flies and wavering insects in hospitals are never a welcome sight. Patients often complain that the flying insects and flies are a nuisance, landing on medicines and food, while they generally give off a sense of unhygienic conditions that could critically affect a patient’s health while they are in the hospital.

And now a new study, published June 21, in the Journal of Medical Entomology now claims that a majority of flies and flying insects in hospitals could be carriers of bacteria that could pose an infection risk to patients.

The study says that more than half of the insects carry bacteria strains that are known as 'superbugs' that are resistant to antibiotics. The study found that Penicillin was the least effective antibiotic against the bacteria that was found.

Speaking about the study, lead author PhD student Federica Boiocchi, an Aston University student said that the results of the analysis show that a variety of flying insects collected from hospitals harbour pathogenic bacteria of different species, adding, "What's quite interesting, though, is the high proportion of drug-resistant bacteria found in these samples. It's a vivid reminder of how our over-use of antibiotics in healthcare settings is making infections more difficult to treat."

Interestingly, 86 bacterial strains were identified on or in the insects, with the family that includes E.Coli and salmonella being the most common at 41 per cent.

The researchers used ultraviolet-light flytraps, electronic fly killers and sticky traps to collect nearly 20,000 flies, aphids, ants, wasps, bees and moths at seven hospitals in England over 18 months. The found almost 9 in 10 insects had harmful bacteria.

Researchers found that in some cases, the level of bacteria was enough to cause infections in humans, thus coming to the conclusion that hospitals do harbour pathogenic bacteria of different species.

The researchers came to the conclusion that despite the cleanest of environments, it is pertinent to take steps to prevent bacteria being brought into hospitals by insects.

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