Insects are efficient vectors of bacteria and in the hospital environment may have a role in spreading nosocomial infections. This study sampled the flying insect populations of seven hospitals in the United Kingdom and characterized the associated culturome of Diptera, including the antibiotic resistance profile of bacterial isolates. Flying insects were collected in seven U.K. hospitals between the period March 2010 to August 2011. The bacteria carried by Diptera were isolated using culture-based techniques, identified and characterized by antimicrobial susceptibility testing. A total of 19,937 individual insects were collected with Diptera being the most abundant (73.6% of the total), followed by Hemiptera (13.9%), Hymenoptera (4.7%), Lepidoptera (2.9%), and Coleoptera (2%). From Diptera, 82 bacterial strains were identified. The majority of bacteria belonged to the Enterobacteriaceae (42%), followed by Bacillus spp. (24%) and Staphylococcus spp. (19%). Less abundant were bacteria of the genus Clostridium (6%), Streptococcus (5%), and Micrococcus (2%). A total of 68 bacterial strains were characterized for their antibiotic resistance profile; 52.9% demonstrated a resistant phenotype to at least one class of antibiotic. Staphylococcus spp. represented the highest proportion of resistant strains (83.3%), followed by Bacillus spp. (60%) and Enterobacteriaceae (31.3%). Diptera were the predominant flying insects present in the U.K. hospital environments sampled and found to harbor a variety of opportunistic human pathogens with associated antimicrobial resistance profiles. Given the ability of flies to act as mechanical vectors of bacteria, they present a potential to contribute to persistence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogenic bacteria in the hospital environment.
Bibliographical noteThis is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Medical Entomology following peer review. The version of record Federica Boiocchi, Matthew P Davies, Anthony C Hilton, An Examination of Flying Insects in Seven Hospitals in the United Kingdom and Carriage of Bacteria by True Flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae, Dolichopodidae, Fanniidae, Muscidae, Phoridae, Psychodidae, Sphaeroceridae), Journal of Medical Entomology, is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjz086
- antimicrobial resistance bacteria
- flying insects
- mechanical vector
- nosocomial infection