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Foodborne Illnesses Caused by Cockroaches

Although there is strong evidence that proves the link between cockroaches and foodborne diseases, it is important to note that cockroaches are not direct vectors of these illnesses, but rather play a role in the spread of harmful bacteria which cause foodborne illnesses, and contribute to the contamination of food products.

Common Bacteria Spread By Cockroaches

  • Salmonella

    The CDC estimates that Salmonella is a major cause of foodborne illness throughout the world, and is 1 of 4 key global causes of diarrhoeal diseases.

    According to the World Health Organisation, the symptoms of Salmonella infections usually appear 12 to 72 hours after infection in the form of fever, nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. Usually, the illness lasts between 4 and 7 days, with most people recovering without treatment.

  • Escherichia Coli

    Escherichia coli (E.coli) is a bacterium which lives in the intestines of people and animals. Although most E.coli are harmless, some are pathogenic and can cause serious foodborne illnesses.

    Shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC), also referred to as enterogemorrhaic E.coli (EHEC), is the pathotype most commonly associated with foodborne illness outbreaks.

  • Listeria monocytogenes

    Listeria monocytogenes is the bacterium which causes listeriosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that 1,600 become infected with Listeriosis each year.

    The symptoms of a Listeria monocytogenes infection are similar to those of other foodborne illnesses showing signs of fever and diarrhoea, however they can vary depending on the person.

How Do Cockroaches Spread Foodborne Illnesses?

Cockroaches aid in the spread of foodborne diseases through contamination - primarily through their feeding habits. They are omnivorous, and will eat almost anything including faeces and other cockroaches.

Did you know, that if a cockroach feeds infected food, the bacteria can remain in its digestive system for a month or more?

The bacteria living within the cockroach’s digestive system is then deposited through its droppings, and in turn will contaminate anything it touches such as raw ingredients and cooking utensils.

Click here for more proactive measures to keep cockroaches away from your home and business premises.

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