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Almost all bugs in hospitals carry dangerous bacterial strains

Does flying insects spread dangerous pathogens?

Hospital flying insects seem to be a significant threat to people's health. Researchers have now found that nearly nine out of ten flying insects in seven hospitals carry potentially harmful bacteria on or in their bodies.

Current Aston University research has shown that nearly nine out of ten flying insects carry harmful bacteria on or in their bodies. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

Almost all bugs in hospitals carry dangerous bacterial strains 2
Flying insects in hospitals almost always carry dangerous bacterial strains, which in the worst case can lead to fatal infections. (Picture: Ralf Geithe /

Many found bacteria were resistant to antibiotics

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

Excessive use of antibiotics causes problems

The results of extensive microbiological analysis show that various flying insects caught in British hospitals actually have pathogenic bacteria of different species. "However, a high share of drug-resistant bacteria in these samples is interesting. This is a vivid reminder that excessive use of antibiotics in healthcare makes it more difficult to cure infections, says study author Federica Boiocchi in a press release from Aston University.

What bacteria have been found?

In and insects, 86 bacterial strains were identified, of which the family including E. coli and Salmonella (Enterobacteriaceae) most commonly found with 41% strains. Twenty-four percent of strains belong to bacteria of the genus possessing B. cereus (Bacillus) bacteria and 19 percent soybees that can cause skin infections, abscesses and respiratory infections (staphylococci).

How are insects caught?

For their 18-month study, the researchers caught nearly 20,000 flying insects with UV hunting traps, electronic killers and traps. More than three-quarters of the insects collected were flies, including home fever. In addition, leaf ears, ants, bees, and mothers were caught.

Countermeasures must be taken

Hospitals should actually be an extremely clean environment, and the risk of transmitting bacteria to insects is usually very low. However, the results of current research clearly show that even in cleaner environments, it is important to take measures to prevent the spread of insects to pathogens. (As)


  • Federico Boiocchi Matthew C Davies Anthony C. Hilton: Flight Insect Investigation in Seven Hospitals in the United Kingdom and Transportation of Fecal Bacteria (Diptera: Calliphoridae, Dolichopodidae, Fanniidae, Muscidae, Phoridae, Psychodidae, Sphaeroceridae); in Journal of Medical Entomology (Quotation: 24.06.2019), Journal of Medical Entomology
  • Aston University: bug bugs: hospital insects carry drug resistant bacteria (Quotation: 24.06.2019.), Aston University