Missy Henriksen: Hi! I am Missy Henriksen with the National Pest Management Association, and today we are talking about cockroaches and the diseases that they can transmit.
Cockroaches are not very clean creatures, in fact, they pose significant health risks. One of the biggest health threats from cockroaches come from the cast skin and fecal matter that these critters leave behind in our homes.
In addition, cockroaches tend to live in dirty spaces like sewers and drains, pipes and bathrooms. As they crawl around they pick up germs from sewerage, garbage and decaying matter on the surface of their legs and feet. They then spread these to other areas like food surfaces in your kitchen and your pet's food bowl.
Cockroaches have been reported to carry 33 types of bacteria, six parasitic worms and seven other types of human pathogens.
One of these bacteria is salmonella which can cause nasty infections. The Center for Disease Control reports that salmonellosis symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal and muscle pain. Recovery usually takes about a week, but some people experience bowel symptoms for months afterwards.
So what can you do to prevent cockroaches from finding their way into your home? There are several simple steps. First of all, make sure your home is clean. Store food in sealed containers. Wipe down kitchen counters. Take out your trash and clean under appliances where food particles can accumulate.
Seal any cracks in the outside of your home including around entrances for utility pipes. Vacuum often and check under sinks in your drains and pipes and closed spaces for signs of an infestation.