Control flies to avoid spread of disease

While having flies at home seems to be a natural incidence, a doctor has advised Ilonggos to control the surge of these insects through cleanliness in order to avoid the spread of diseases like cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever.

“The wings of a fly have toxins. They carry millions of bacteria,” said Dr. Clemencia Bondoc, municipal health officer of Zarraga during the Swine and Poultry Sustainable Waste Management and social Responsibility Awareness Workshop last August 2-3, 2013.

“A fly can lay 200 to 3,000 eggs in its lifetime,” she added.

“The habits of the fly can make it eminently suited for the spread of diseases. The most important breeding places of these flies, in order of importance, are fresh horse manure, human excreta, manure of other animals, garbage, decaying fruits and vegetables, rubbish dumps containing organic matter and ground where liquid wastes are spilled. Adults delight in sputum, feces, discharges from wounds and open sores,” Dr. Bondoc explained.

She said flies are attracted to food by its sense of smell, so this restless insect moves back and forth food and filth thus helps in the spread of infection.

“The fly vomits frequently. The vomit drop is a rich bacterial culture and by its habit of frequent vomiting,” she said.

Dr. Bondoc said that some diseases that flies transmit are cholera, dysenteries, typhoid and parathypoid fever, conjunctivitis, hepatitits A, diarrheas (parasitic, bacterial like e.coli and viral).

She said cholera is acute and infectious gastroenteritis which could lead to a person’s death due to dehydration.

“A person who has cholera has rice water stool. He experiences profuse watery diarrhea. Since the person excretes often and wherever, the fly will feast on it and then go to our food. Its wings serve as mechanical transmission device,” Dr. Bondoc said.

She added, the other symptoms of cholera are vomiting, leg cramps, dehydration, low blood pressure-hypotensive, shock within 4 to 12 hours of infection.

“Its incubation period is two to five days. Without treatment, death can occur within several hours because the heart will stop beating if the person no longer has sodium and potassium,” she said.

Another disease that a fly can transmit is dysentery.

“This is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially the colon.  It results in severe diarrhea containing blood and mucus in the feces, with fever, abdominal pain, and rectal tenesmus (a feeling of incomplete defecation), caused by any kind of infection,” she said.

Typhoid fever can also be transmitted by flies, Dr. Bondoc warned.

“This is an acute illness associated with acute fever caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. It can be transmitted by a fly that feasts on what the sick person excretes,” she said.

“To prevent these diseases, we have to control houseflies. In addition, we must change our behaviour towards the disease, practice personal hygiene and handwashing and practice food safety techniques,” she said.

She urged the poultry and piggery owners at the workshop to control flies infestation through cleanliness.

She also told schools to cover the food that they are selling in the canteen.

She cited Presidential Decree 856 or the Sanitation Code of the Philippines, Section 70 which states, “a vermin abatement program shall be maintained in places by their owners, operators or administrators. If they fail, neglect or refuse to maintain a vermin abatement program, the local health agency will undertake the work at their expense;  vermin control in public places shall be the responsibility of the provincial, city or municipal governments which have jurisdiction over them; and the procedure and frequency of vermin abatement program shall be determined and approved by the local health authority.”

“Violation of this provision has a sanction of imprisonment of a period not exceeding six months or a fine of P1,000,” Dr. Bondoc concluded./Marie Katherine Villalon

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