Diseases caused by Cockroaches
Cockroaches are synonymous with dirt, filth and poor hygiene. Their feeding and nesting habits mean they can easily accumulate a range of different pathogens, which cause health problems when transmitted, can result in complications to your health. For businesses, this can have a negative impact on both staff health and retention. In addition, those operating within the food industry could experience a breach in food safety laws, as food-borne diseases spread due to cockroaches.
Diseases caused by Cockroaches, Cockroaches can spread a range of diseases. However, unlike mosquitoes, they are not direct vectors of diseases through mechanical transfer and acting as a reservoir. Transmission occurs indirectly, from consumption or contact with items. Filthy cockroaches, rather than through bites contaminate it. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) “Cockroaches are not usually the most important cause of a disease, but like houseflies, they play a supplementary role in the spread of some diseases”.
Suspected carriers of the organisms are cockroaches that cause the following infections:
- Typhoid Fever
Some of the diseases caused by cockroaches can also trigger asthma and other allergies as well as spread E.coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus.
Just like rodents, cockroaches transmit the Salmonella bacteria which can cause salmonellosis, a disease in humans with symptoms similar to food poisoning. For a fact, cockroaches also accumulate the bacteria by feeding on contaminated food. The Salmonella remains in their digestive system for a month or more and their vomit and faeces deposits there. Human symptoms, which typically show 12 to 72 hours after infection, include diarrhoea, fever, and vomiting (to name a few). Recovery usually occurs after four to seven days, with little to no medical treatment need, besides replenishing fluids.
Typhoid fever: Caused by Salmonella typhi bacteria
Salmonella typhi bacterium causes Typhoid fever which is a bacterial infection and is a highly infectious disease. Cockroaches accumulate this disease by consuming faeces contaminated with the bacterium. According to the UK National Health Services (NHS) Typhoid fever is most common in developing countries where there are poor sanitation and limited access to clean water. There is more risk to children and the elderly due to their immunocompromised states.
The symptoms of typhoid fever symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- High temperature
- Head and muscle aches
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Stomach Pain
Hence you should seek medical attention if you experience any of the symptoms of typhoid fever. With treatment, this disease will quickly improve within three to five days. Treat it well otherwise serious complications can develop.
Cholera: Caused by Vibrio cholera bacteria
Diseases caused by cockroaches include cholera. Vibrio cholera bacterium causes cholera which is an acute diarrheal infection. It is most common in developing countries and areas that have inadequate environmental management. Infection occurs through ingestion of food and drinks contaminated with the bacterium. If exposed to the bacterium, cockroaches can spread the organism through their faeces and vomit, contaminating surfaces and food. Researchers from the World Health Organization have estimated that worldwide there are roughly 1.4 million to 4.3 million cases of cholera per year resulting in 28,000 to 142,000 deaths. Around 80% of people infected with cholera do not develop any symptoms, although the bacterium is present in their faeces for 1-10 days after infection. Among the small percentage who do develop symptoms, 80% have mild to moderate symptoms with around 20% developing acute watery diarrhoea resulting in severe dehydration.
Dysentery: Caused by poor hygiene or contaminated food/drinks
Dysentery is a type of gastroenteritis that results in diarrhoea with blood. Generally, most people suffer from mild symptoms and recover within a week or so without medical attention. There are two types of dysentery. They are:
- Bacillary dysentery: Sometimes referred to as shigellosis. Shigella causes it.
- Amoebic dysentery: Single-celled parasite called EntamoebaIs causes it. It is usually found in tropical areas.
Poor hand hygiene and consuming food and drink contaminated with the organisms spread dysentery. Symptoms are diarrhoea containing blood and mucus, painful stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, and high temperature.
Leprosy: Also believed to be caused by cockroaches
Cockroaches, along with other insects, are suspected of being carriers of the bacillus Mycobacterium leprae which causes the disease leprosy. Cockroaches’ faeces spread this disease. Whilst the bacteria are not highly infectious, if left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to the skin, nerves, eyes, and skin which can lead to disfigurement and deformities. Leprosy has an incubation period of around five years but symptoms may take as long as 20 years to appear. Treatment is possible using multidrug therapy (MDT).
Plague: Mainly rodent-borne, but not solely
Although it’s often thought to be a rodent-borne disease, cockroaches are also suspected of spreading the Yersinia pestis bacterium which is known to cause the bubonic plague. Common symptoms of the bubonic plague include, but are not limited to:
- Swollen and painful lymph nodes.
- Muscle cramps
- High fever
People infected due to plague need to receive urgent treatment and should consume antibiotics 24 hours after infection to avoid severe consequences. It is estimated that the bubonic plague was responsible for around 50 million deaths in the fourteenth century. According to the WHO, there were 783 reported cases of the bubonic plague in 2013, resulting in 126 deaths.
Listeriosis: Due to contaminated food and drink
Bacterium Listeria monocytogenes causes Listeriosis which is a serious infection. It is usually contracted by consuming contaminated food and drink. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is an important public health problem in the United States. Listeriosis primarily affects people with weakened immune systems such as pregnant women, newborns and the elderly. Although rare, it can also affect people with strong immune systems. Symptoms of listeriosis are usually fever, muscle aches, and diarrhoea. However, if the disease spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract, symptoms can also include headaches, a stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions. For pregnant women, contracting listeriosis can sometimes lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or premature delivery.
You can find Escherichia coli (E. coli), a bacterium commonly in the gut of humans. Although most strains of the bacteria are harmless, some can cause serious food poisoning. The common symptoms of an E. coli infection are watery diarrhoea and abdominal cramping. Less common symptoms are:
- Muscle aches
Symptoms usually last three weeks and require little to no medical support. Cockroaches spread the infection through contaminated food and drink and mechanical transfer on their feet and exoskeleton.
Other diseases caused by cockroaches
Although they are not diseases, there are a handful of bacteria that cockroaches spread which could develop into serious infections. Staphylococcus aureus is a gram-positive cocci bacterium. This organism is generally harmless but can cause serious infections. Infection can occur in many forms ranging from minor skin infections, such as boils, to infections of the blood, lungs, and heart.
Cockroaches carry the bacterium on their exoskeletons or in their digestive tracts. Like Staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus infections come in many different forms, from mild throat infections to life-threatening infections of the blood or organs.
Cockroaches and asthma: A definite risk
To add to the other bacterial diseases caused by cockroaches, there is also a link between these crawling insects and asthma. Cockroach allergy was first reported in 1943. Most noteworthy patients developed a rash after cockroaches crawled on their skin. Cockroaches can trigger asthma because they contain certain proteins in their bodies which can be an allergen for certain people. When tiny particles from cockroach bodies spread through the air in buildings, people inhale proteins and it can trigger an asthma attack in sensitive people.
WHO estimated that 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma. Frequent hospital visits of children living in cities suffering from asthma can often be as a result to contact with cockroaches. Around 23-60% of people with asthma are sensitive to cockroach allergens.
How are diseases caused by cockroaches?
As they are reservoirs of organisms which cause disease and not vectors, cockroaches use other means to spread diseases. Cockroaches can spread diseases through their droppings (cockroach particles and faeces); through their vomit and even through direct contact. Because they trail the filth, rotten stuff, and bacteria that surround their habitats.
On the off chance that you do presume any diseases caused by cockroaches in your home, instantly call the experts. They dispose of them at the earliest possible before they multiply. We at Hicare give add up to cockroach prevention and in addition cockroach control services all over India. Call us on 39889988 to know more about the service.