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Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2005 Dec;99(8):795-802.

Carriage by the housefly (Musca domestica) of multiple-antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are potentially pathogenic to humans, in hospital and other urban environments in Misurata, Libya.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Misurata University, P.O. Box 2478, Misurata, Libya.


Using standard microbiological procedures, bacteria that are potentially pathogenic to humans were isolated from 150 houseflies collected in the Libyan city of Misurata (50 flies each from the Central Hospital, streets and abattoir). Salmonella spp., Yersinia enterocolitica and Edwardsiella tarda were isolated from flies collected on the streets and in the abattoir but not from those collected in the hospital. Shigella sonnei was detected in just one fly, which was collected in the abattoir. Of the flies collected in the hospital, streets and abattor, 42%, 42% and 32% were positive for Escherichia coli, 70%, 50% and 62% for Klebsiella spp., 2%, 20% and 10% for Aeromonas spp., 96%, 36% and 34% for Pseudomonas spp., 20%, 12% and 16% for Staphylococcus spp., and 24%, 22% and 18% for Streptococcus spp., respectively. When the antibiotic susceptibilities of the fly isolates were investigated, the Enterobacteria isolated from the houseflies collected in the hospital were found to be resistant to significantly more of the commonly used antibiotics that were tested than the Enterobacteria isolated from the flies caught in the streets or abattoir. Whatever the source of the flies from which they were collected, the Pseudomonas isolates frequently showed resistance to multiple antibiotics, with >50% each being resistant to at least 10 antimicrobial agents. Two isolates of Sta. aureus (both from flies collected in the hospital) were resistant to methicillin. The present study supports the belief that the housefly is a potential vector of multiple-antibiotic-resistant, pathogenic bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Sta. aureus, in the hospital environment. Given their mobility, it seems likely that houseflies carry such pathogens from hospitals to surrounding communities, and vice versa.

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