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A 31-year-old member asked:

Do cockroaches carry diseases? what health risks to cockroaches pose? can they transmit diseases to people and pets?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Internal Medicine 41 years experience
Cockroaches : Cockroaches are capable of passively transporting microbes on their body surfaces, therefore allowing the transmission of bacteria between people. Not all of the transmitted bacteria are harmful to healthy people with normal immune systems, however, there have been cases where potentially dangerous bacteria have been transmitted in environments such as hospitals and have caused a serious public health problem. In addition, cockroaches have been linked with allergic reactions in humans. Cockroaches can trigger allergic reactions by releasing irritant proteins such as tropomyosin, which can be particularly problematic for asthmatics. Studies have shown that exposure to cockroach allergens are associated with an increased risk of asthma hospitalizations.
Dr. Dan Fisher
Dr. Dan Fisher commented
Internal Medicine 27 years experience
Complete agreement. Well put. See the CDC website regarding this. http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/publications/books/housing/cha04.htm
Mar 13, 2013
Dr. Dan Fisher
Dr. Dan Fisher commented
Internal Medicine 27 years experience
P.S. Tropomyosin is the same allergen implicated in crustacean seafood allergy
Mar 13, 2013
Dr. Dan Fisher
Internal Medicine 27 years experience
Very rarely.: Have been known to transmit salmonella when they carry bacteria on their body. Health risk is actually low. More distasteful than dangerous. See cdc website. Cdc.Gov.

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