Reducing fly-transmitted diseases through fly control

Flies are known to carry more than a 100 kinds of disease-causing parasites, bacteria, and viruses! These diseases include trachoma, river blindness (onchocerciasis), and African sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis). Reducing the number of flies that come in contact with humans will also help to reduce these diseases. Here are some ways to reduce the number of flies!


The most effective and long-term ways to reduce flies are through good sanitation and hygiene. Flies are attracted to human faeces (poo), animal faeces, and food, so proper storage and disposal are very important!

Humans should avoid open defecation (pooing outside and not in a toilet or designated spot). Use nets, screens, and lids to stop flies from entering toilets. Both humans and animals should be stopped from defecating (pooing) near water sources. This will help prevent not only fly-transmitted diseases, but many other diseases as well!

Animal dung (poo) should be cleaned up every day if they are near living spaces. Flies lay eggs in the surface of dung, so piling dung (on a concrete floor if possible) will decrease the surface where flies can lay eggs. Covering the dung pile with a plastic sheet will stop flies from entering, and may also make the dung too hot for flies to lay eggs in it. In general, keeping animals outside and away from living spaces will decrease diseases.

Store trash in a closed container so that flies cannot smell and enter the trash. The trash should then be collected to a designated area outside the village. It should be covered with soil at least once a week, or burned. Just make sure the designated area is in a direction where the wind will not carry smells and smoke back to the village!

Food should be covered or stored in closed containers so that flies cannot smell and touch it. To stop flies from entering indoor places, cover doors and windows with screens, nets, or curtains. Curtains can be made from strings of beads or strips of plastic.


Fly traps can be used to catch flies. Many traps use bait, such as a bit of food that flies like. The bait attracts flies, and the trap makes it easy for flies to enter but hard for them to leave. There are many different kinds of traps that can be made with locally available material. Test different places to put the traps to see what is most effective!

Sticky tapes can also be used to catch flies. The tapes are made with available sweet material (such as sugar) to attract flies and sticky material (such as glue or resin) to catch them. Molasses are a kind of material that is both sweet and sticky. These sticky tapes can be hung from ceilings and other surfaces. There are traps that use light to attract flies and electricity to kill them, but they require an electric power supply.


Finally, chemicals can be used to kill flies. Depending on the chemical, they can be sprayed on skin, on clothes, on surfaces, and in outdoor spaces. Some problems with chemicals are that flies can develop resistance, and some chemicals are also harmful to humans, other animals, and the environment.

The best way to reduce flies and diseases is through good sanitation and hygiene. Wash hands with soap before touching food, before cleaning faces, and after going to the toilet. Cover food, water, and toilets so flies and other insects and germs cannot get into them. Prevention is most effective when the whole community works together!



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