Study Finds Bug Zappers
Shower Fly Viruses Into Air
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Flies killed in an electronic bug zapper can leave a parting gift -- a shower of viruses spread nearby, according to a report released Wednesday.
``Recent studies in a number of labs have suggested that the familiar 'zzzap' one hears in American backyards each summer may spell doom for many more good and useful insects than for bad or biting insects,'' researchers at Kansas State University said.
``Our studies suggest the sound may also signal the potential for a shower or cloud of microorganisms, including viruses, on one back yard's barbecue,'' they added.
The report said studies found that viruses on the surfaces of flies are scattered in far greater numbers when the insect is electrocuted in one of the devices than viruses carried internally. The finding was based on experiments using a virus that is similar in size and shape to the human polio virus. ``Approximately one virus out of every 4,000 on a fly's surface are spread by electrocution, and virus can be spread up to six feet by the electrocution event,'' the study said.
``Only about one in one million of the viruses inside the fly are released upon electrocution, but but internal virus may also be spread up to six feet,'' it added.
``The increased dissemination of organisms on the fly surface is potentially significant since flies moving about on filth such as feces are most likely to become surface contaminated,'' said the study released at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
The researchers said previous studies have found that bacteria is spread in a similar fashion and about the same distance when flies die in the devices.