- CHICAGO (Reuters) - Flies killed in an electronic bug zapper can leave
a parting gift -- a shower of viruses spread nearby, according to a report
- ``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.