Almost all insects in clinics transmit dangerous strains of bacteria

Insect bites from mosquitoes, wasps or bees can be extremely uncomfortable. Health experts explain how to protect yourself from it. (Image: Ralf Geithe / fotolia.com)

Do flying insects spread dangerous pathogens?

Flying insects found in hospitals appear to pose a significant threat to human health. Researchers have now found that just under nine out of ten flying insects in seven hospitals examined carried potentially harmful bacteria on or in their bodies.

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The latest study by Aston University found that almost nine out of ten flying insects carry harmful bacteria on or in their bodies. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Journal of Medical Entomology".

Flying insects in hospitals almost always carry dangerous strains of bacteria with them, which in the worst case can lead to fatal infections. (Image: Ralf Geithe / fotolia.com)

Many of the bacteria found were resistant to antibiotics

Over half of the bacterial strains identified were resistant to at least one class of antibiotics. About 20 percent of the bacterial strains were even resistant to several classes of antibiotics, the researchers report. The least effective antibiotic against the bacteria found was penicillin.

Overuse of antibiotics creates problems

The results of the large-scale microbiological analysis show that a large number of flying insects that have been caught in British hospitals are actually harboring pathogenic bacteria of various species. “What is interesting, however, is the high proportion of drug-resistant bacteria in these samples. It's a vivid reminder of how the overuse of antibiotics in healthcare makes it difficult to treat infections, ”said study author Federica Boiocchi in an Aston University press release.

Which bacteria were found?

86 bacterial strains were identified on and in the insects, with the family, to which E. coli and Salmonella (Enterobacteriaceae) belong, being the most common with 41 percent of the strains. 24 percent of the strains belonged to bacteria belonging to the genus B. cereus (Bacillus), a bacterial poisoning agent, and 19 percent were bacteria from a strain that can cause skin infections, abscesses, and respiratory infections (staphylococci).

How were the insects caught?

For their study, the researchers caught almost 20,000 flying insects in 18 months with UV fly traps, electronic fly killers and sticky traps. Over three-quarters of the insects collected were flies, including house flies. Aphids, ants, bees, wasps and moths were also caught.

Countermeasures need to be taken

Hospitals should be extremely clean environments and the risk of insects transmitting bacteria is usually very low. But the latest study results make it clear that even in the cleanest of environments, it is important to take measures to prevent insects from spreading the pathogen there. (as)

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