Cockroach Diseases

Diseases caused by Cockroaches

Cockroaches are synonymous with dirt, grime and poor hygiene. Their eating and nesting habits mean that they can easily accumulate a range of different pathogens, which cause health problems when transmitted, can lead to complications for your health. For businesses, this can have a negative impact on the health and retention of staff. In addition, those operating in the food industry could be subjected to a violation of food safety laws as foodborne illnesses spread due to cockroaches.

Diseases caused by cockroaches, cockroaches can spread a range of diseases. However, unlike mosquitoes, they are not direct vectors of disease by mechanical transfer and act as a reservoir. Transmission occurs indirectly, through consumption or contact with items. Dirty cockroaches, rather than bites, contaminate it. As indicated by the World Health Organization, "cockroaches are not usually the major cause of disease, but like house flies, they play an additional role in the spread of certain diseases"

Some of the diseases caused by cockroaches can also trigger asthma and other allergies as well as spread E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus.

  • Salmonellosis (Salmonella) : Like rats, cockroaches transmit the Salmonella bacteria, which can cause salmonellosis, a disease in humans with symptoms similar to food poisoning. Indeed, cockroaches also accumulate bacteria by feeding on contaminated food. Salmonella remain in their digestive system for a month or more and their vomiting and feces are deposited there. Human symptoms, which usually start 12 to 72 hours after infection, include diarrhea, fever, and vomiting (to name a few). Recovery usually occurs after four to seven days, with little or no need for medical treatment, in addition to replenishing fluids.
  • Typhoid fever: caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi : The bacterium Salmonella typhi causes typhoid fever which is a bacterial infection and a highly infectious disease. Cockroaches accumulate this disease by consuming feces contaminated with the bacteria. According to the National Health Services (NHS) of the United Kingdom, typhoid fever is more common in developing countries where sanitation is poor and access to clean water is limited. There are more risks for children and the elderly due to their immunocompromised conditions.

    Symptoms of typhoid fever symptoms include, but are not limited to :

  • High temperature
  • Headache and muscle aches
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Exhaustion
  • Stomach pain
  • Therefore, you should consult a doctor if you experience any of the symptoms of typhoid fever. With treatment, this disease will improve quickly in three to five days. Treat it well otherwise serious complications may develop.
  • Cholera : caused by Vibrio cholera bacteria : Diseases caused by cockroaches include cholera. The bacteria Vibrio cholera causes cholera which is an acute diarrheal infection. It is more common in developing countries and regions where environmental management is inadequate. Infection occurs through the ingestion of food and drink contaminated with the bacteria. If exposed to the bacteria, cockroaches can spread the body through their feces and vomiting, contaminating surfaces and food. Researchers from the World Health Organization have estimated that worldwide there are approximately 1.4 to 4.3 million cases of cholera per year, resulting in 28,000 to 142,000 deaths. About 80% of people infected with cholera do not develop any symptoms, although the bacteria are present in their feces for 1 to 10 days after infection. Among the small percentage of people who develop symptoms, 80% have mild to moderate symptoms and about 20% develop acute watery diarrhea leading to severe dehydration.
  • Dysentery : caused by poor hygiene or contaminated food / drink: Dysentery is a type of gastroenteritis that causes diarrhea with blood. Generally, most people suffer from mild symptoms and recover in about a week without medical care. There are two types of dysentery. They are:
  • Bacillary dysentery: : Sometimes called shigellosis. Shigella is the cause.
  • Amoebic dysentery : a single-celled parasite called EntamoebaIs is the cause. It is generally found in tropical areas.
  • Poor hand hygiene and the consumption of food and drink contaminated with organisms spread dysentery. Symptoms are diarrhea containing blood and mucus, painful stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, and high temperature.

  • Cockroaches and asthma: a certain risk : To add to the other bacterial diseases caused by cockroaches, there is also a link between these creeping insects and asthma. The allergy to cockroaches was first reported in 1943. Most notable patients developed a rash after cockroaches slipped on the skin. Cockroaches can trigger asthma because they contain certain proteins in their body which can be an allergen for some people. When tiny particles of cockroach bodies spread through the air in buildings, people inhale protein and this can trigger an asthma attack in susceptible people.
  • The WHO estimates that 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma. Frequent hospital visits to children living in cities with asthma can often result from contact with cockroaches. About 23 to 60% of people with asthma are sensitive to cockroach allergens.

Further information and next steps

Health and Safety

find out more about our Health and Safety

Pest Prevention Tips

Here are some handy tips for you to prevent pest infestation in your premise.