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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Mosquito and Fly Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #319371

Research Project: Management of Filth Flies

Location: Mosquito and Fly Research

Title: Why flies are good vectors

item Hogsette, Jerome - Jerry

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: It was around 1900 when house flies were implicated in disease transmission. Flies with white powder on their feet were seen landing on food in US Army chow halls. This white powder was lime that had been sprinkled over the human excrement in open latrines not too far from the eating establishments. This type of fly transmission still occurs today and the US Army estimates that at any one time 4% of the troops are unable to perform their duties because of enteric disorders caused by fly-transmitted pathogens. The summertime increase in diseases, such as typhoid and cholera, were soon associated with an increase in fly populations, and finally fly transmission was verified in the laboratory. Although it is now common knowledge that flies and other insects are able to transmit pathogens, the discovery years ago was an entirely new concept. Flies are excellent vectors because they are interested in many types of substrates from human food to feces and the reverse. Flies given access to preferred media can become self-contaminated from pathogens in that media and can thereby contaminate other media on future visits. Pathogens which remain viable for long periods in the environment are the best candidates for fly transmission. Thus, successful fly transmission of short-lived viral pathogens, like Ebola virus, would not be expected. Although the public is aware that the house fly can transmit pathogens, other dipteran pests can also harbor and transmit pathogens. This includes blow flies (Calliphoridae), stable flies and horn flies (Muscidae), and horse flies, deer flies and yellow flies (Tabanidae). The purpose of this symposium is to discuss pathogen transmission by the various families of Diptera to better understand the effects of these flies on the health of humans and animals.