In addition to being an occasional annoyance within homes during the summer months, it is clear that flies are bacteria-ridden insects. Everyone has seen flies grouped together on less-than-sanitary materials, including animal waste, roadkill, and rotten food. These bacteria-rich environments provide flies with food nutrients, as well as nourishing conditions for their developing eggs and maggots.
Just as anyone would suspect, flies easily spread a variety of disease-causing bacteria to otherwise sanitary locations. Because of this, indoor fly infestations are considered a health threat as well as an annoyance. Although flies are not “direct disease vectors”, flies are categorized as “mechanical vectors”. Unlike mosquitoes, flies do not become infected with diseases that they can then spread to humans; instead, flies only carry disease-causing bacteria to humans. However, some fly species are capable of depositing their offspring, that is, maggots, below the surface of human skin. This unpleasant medical condition is known as myiasis, and it presents itself in a variety of disgusting ways. While myiasis is rare within the United States, infection cases still emerge in the country, especially in the northeast, which is where 53 percent of myasias cases are documented.
Decades ago, myasias-causing blowflies were eradicated from the United States, making the condition virtually non-existent in the country, with the exception of occasional freak cases. The northeast sees the highest rate of myiasis cases compared to all other US regions, and this is due to many factors, including the presence of native fly species in the region that are believed to spread the infection. These fly species include the rabbit bot-fly, and the W. vigil species of flesh fly.
In two cases, residents contracted the disease after their homes became infested with flies in the northeast US. One of these cases, saw a man fall ill after Phoenicia flies deposited their maggot-offspring into an open wound. The other case saw a resident contract intestinal myiasis from flies belonging to the Phaenicia sericata species. Both of these men almost certainly became infected as a result of making repeated contact with myasias-spreading fly species within their own home.
Symptoms of myasias differ in accordance with the particular body cavity where maggots establish an infestation. Infections have occured in eye-sockets, ears, noses, and even within the genitalia of both sexes. In addition to Massachusetts, other northeast states, like Connecticut and New York, have seen fairly recent myasias cases that were spread by native flies.
Have you ever heard of an American falling ill as a direct, or indirect result of an insect infestation?