- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
It wasn't too surprising.
Reuters posted a story online today about flies spreading drug-resistant "superbugs" from chicken droppings.
Seems that researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, matched bacteria from houseflies and litter from poultry barns in the Delmarva Peninsula, a coastal region shared by Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
They published their findings in the journal Science of the Total Environment
Pesearcher Jay Graham said in a John Hopkins' press release: "Flies are well-known vectors of disease and have been implicated in the spread of various viral and bacterial infections affecting humans, including enteric fever, cholera, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis and shigellosis. Our study found similarities in the antibiotic-resistant bacteria i both the flies and poultry litter we simpled. The evidence is another example of the risks associated withthe inadequate treatment of animal wastes."
They cited a Danish study that indicated as many as 30,000 flies can fly in and out of a poultry house over a six-week period.
The take-home message: The increase in antibiotic-resistant baceria poses a major threat to public health.
UC Davis forensic entomologist and "super fly" expert Bob Kimsey told us last October that the common housefly, which breeds in manure, compost piles and dumpsters, is known to transfer at least 100 different pathogens and carry about 6.6 million bacteria on its body at a single time. It transmits both parastic and bacterial pathogens as well as viruses.
Makes you want to join the "swat team."