Moth Flies May Be Vector for Disease in Hospitals

A new insect threat has been identified that poses potential disease contamination problems for greater New York City and northern New Jersey hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities, the National Pest Management Association warned recently.  New German research has identified moth flies as a possible mechanical vector for bacterial pathogens linked to nosocomial infections. In plain language, moth flies may transmit harmful bacteria between patients in hospital and other communal medical environments.

Also known as drain flies, filter flies and sewage flies, moth flies are a common structural pest with a worldwide range. Commonly found flying around drain pipes, garbage containers and sewage disposal sites, these flies breed and develop in the gelatinous scum of decaying organic matter that lines drain and sewage pipes.

To determine whether moth flies could transmit and spread disease, two German scientists collected moth fly specimens from four hospitals infested by the insect. In the exoskeletons of the collected specimens, they were able to identify 45 different species of bacteria from 40 genera, including one drug-resistant strain of bacteria. Study results were published in the Journal of Hospital Infection earlier this year.

The discovery of a new vector for bacterial disease points out the importance of practicing good sanitary procedures in hospitals and other patient-care facilities, as well as the need for expert commercial pest control and pest management services in these facilities.