Flies can help in public health surveillance: Study

That most annoying of bugs, the fly, might be of help to researchers in public health studies. The blowfly and housefly are the two most common, feasting on detritus and picking up hundreds of types of bacteria. Researchers at the Singapore Center at NTU have suggested that flies bred in sterile conditions can be loosed like spies into environments where they can pick up bacteria specific to that area. After they are re-caught, the flies and passengers can be analyzed to provide data on types of microscopic organisms in an area.

Key Takeaways:

  • Flies could be used to surveil environmental bacterial.
  • Flies carry hundreds of species of bacteria.
  • Flies contaminate every surface that they land on.

“Researchers have found that because flies are the very vessels that transport harmful and sometimes deadly bacteria, the insects can also be used to monitor the diseases circulating in the environment.”