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Cockroaches are the garbage disposal units of the natural world and will eat anything from rotten food scraps to faecal matter. As a result, cockroaches may carry a range of bacteria that can survive in their digestive systems for extended periods.
This bacteria can be passed into your home and spread via cockroach droppings that may contaminate your food, furniture, skirting boards and cornices – and cause a range of potentially serious human health risks.
Here are three of the most common cockroach diseases to watch out for:
Salmonella is a bacterial infection of the gastro-intestinal tract and is contracted and spread via the ingestion of the bacteria from contaminated sources such as food or dirty hands.
Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, stomach cramps and vomiting, with possible blood or mucus present in the faeces of infected people. It usually takes between 12 and 36 hours to develop symptoms following exposure to the bacteria, and an antibiotic treatment may be prescribed in particularly serious cases.
Staphylococcus – or golden staph – is a usually harmless type of bacteria that lives on the skin. However, it can cause a range of infections – some potentially life threatening – if the bacteria enters the blood stream through a cut in the skin.
Golden staff is a common cockroach disease and can be spread by touching surfaces that have been contaminated with infected cockroach droppings. The bacteria may cause a range of infections from mild boils to life-threatening brain (meningitis), heart (endocarditis) and lung (pneumonia) infections. Serious infections often require hospitalization and are usually treated with antibiotics.
A streptococcal infection commonly causes sore throats – known colloquially as ‘strep throat’ – as well as impetigo sores. In rare cases, it can also cause more serious infections such as rheumatic fever that may damage the heart or kidneys.
Thick pus around the tonsils and a red, inflamed throat are the most common symptoms of a streptococcal infection, but infected people may also suffer from fever, vomiting, and sore lymph nodes in the neck. A rash across the abdomen may also be an indication of scarlet fever. Streptococcus is spread via sneezing, coughing and skin contact, with antibiotics often used as the standard treatment.
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