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The House-fly”Disease Carrier: an Account of its Dangerous Activities and of the Means of Destroying it

Nature volume 88, pages 345346 (11 January 1912) | Download Citation



ALTHOUGH house-flies are universally admitted to be a nuisance of a peculiarly exasperating kind, it was not until almost within the last decade that even physicians, with a few isolated exceptions, began to realise the possible dangers lurking in the presence of the most familiar and probably most widely distributed of all insects. The Spanish-American war of thirteen odd years ago did something to direct attention to the importance of the house-fly as a carrier of enteric fever in military standing camps, and the lesson then borne in upon the medical officers of the United States Army was enforced only too well a few years later by our own experiences in South Africa. It is now agreed by those best qualified to judge that the house-fly can convey the causative agents of cholera and enteric fever, and in outbreaks of these diseases often plays no inconsiderable part as a disseminator. Whether or not it acts as a carrier of infantile diarrhoea, which during the summer months frequently causes great mortality among young children, is not yet conclusively established; but that it is capable of carrying tubercle bacilli is certain, and tuberculosis and the other diseases mentioned do not exhaust the list of what are at least potential dangers connected with the house-fly.

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