Expert Answer

Q: How do cockroaches affect human health?


By: Dr. Janis Reed, BCE, Technical Services Manager with CSI

Cockroaches commonly affect human health in two ways: allergens and spread of bacteria.  Cockroach cast skins (exuviae) and fecal material contain proteins that many people can be allergic to. If exposed for long periods of time or repeatedly, this can cause serious medical conditions including asthma. In food preparation areas, cockroaches can physically move bacteria on their bodies. For example, the cockroach may be spending time in a sewer and then crawl across a clean kitchen counter bringing dangerous bacteria with them in the process.