• Shini Zacharia
  • Asha Peter
  • Jyothis Mathew


The study was undertaken to search the carrier potential of P. americana, the predominant cockroach species in India, of various human bacterial pathogen including L. monocytogenes in their intestine. Cockroaches were collected from tertiary care hospitals, domestic environments, market places and restaurants. Identification of the bacterial isolates from the aseptically removed intestine was carried out by standard bacteriological procedures (Cowan and Steel, 1974) including morphological, cultural, biochemical and physiological studies. Listeria species were isolated following USDA method. The bacteriological examination of the intestinal content of P. americana  revealed the presence of various potential human bacterial pathogens including Listeria spp. The major bacteria with epidemiological significance in nosocomial infection isolated from the intestinal contents of P. americana were Enterococcus spp. (95.6percent), Klebsiella spp. (39.6percent) and Proteus spp. (36percent).51.2percent of cockroaches under study were found to be harboured with Listeria spp. The observations made in this study establish the possible role of the insect P. americana in carrying and transmitting human pathogens especially in nosocomial and food borne infections and goes to suggest that the pest cannot be ignored as a casual harmless inhabitant of the human environments.

Keywords: P. americana, intestine, bacterial pathogens


Download data is not yet available.


Le Guyader A, Rivault C, Chaperon J. Microbial organisms carried by brown-banded cockroaches in relation to their spatial distribution in a hospital. Epidemiol Infect. 1989; 102: 485-92.

Cochran DG. Cockroaches - biology and control. WHO, Vector Biology and Control Series, Geneva, Switzerland. 1982; 856: 1-53.

Cowan ST, Steel KJ. Manual for the identification of medical bacteria. London: Cambridge university press. 1974; pp: 238.

Cornwell, PB. The Cockroach. 1968; I: pp: 391

Ahmad A, Ghosh A, Schal C, Zurek L. Insects in confined swine operations carry a large antibiotic resistant and potentially virulent enterococcal community. BMC Microbiol. 2011; 11:23.

Willems RJL, van Schalk W. Transition of Enterococcus faecium from commensal org anism to nosocomial pathogen. Future Microbiol. 2009; 4: 1125-1135.

Kayser FH. Safety aspects of enterococci from the medical point of view. Int J Food Microbiol. 2003; 88:255-262.

Fotedar R, Shriniwas UB, Verma A. Cockroaches (Blattella germanica) as carriers of microorganisms of medical importance in hospitals. Epidemiol Infect. 1991; 107: 181–187.

Prado MA, Gir E, Pereira MS, Reis C, Pimenta FC. Profile of antimicrobial resistance of bacteria isolated from cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) in a Brazilian health care institution. Braz J Infect Dis. 2006; 10 : 26-32.

Tilahun B, Worku B, Tachbele E, Terefe S, Kloos H, Legesse W. High load of multi-drug resistant nosocomial neonatal pathogens carried by cockroaches in a neonatal intensive care unit at Tikur Anbessa specialized hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2012. 1:12.

Podschun R, Ullmann U. Klebsiella spp. as nosocomial pathogens: epidemiology, taxonomy, typing methods and pathogenicity factors. Clin Microbiol Rev. 1998; 11:589-603.

Chaichanawongsaroj N, Vanichayatanarak K, Pipatkullachat T, Polrojpanya M, Somkiatcharoen S. Isolation of Gram-negative bacteria from cockroaches trapped from urban environment. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2004; 35(3): 681-4.

Elgderi RM, Ghenghesh KS, Berbash N. Carriage by the German cockroach (Blattella germanica) of multiple-antibiotic-resistant bacteria that is potentially pathogenic to humans, in hospitals and households in Tripoli, Libya. Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2006; 100:55-62.

Feglo PK, Gbedema SY, Quay SNA, Adu-Sarkodie Y, Opoku-Okrah C. Occurrence, species distribution and antibiotic resistance of Proteus isolates: Acase study at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Ghana. Int J Pharma Sci Res. 2010; 1:347-352.

Salehzadeh A, Tavacol P, Mahjub H. Bacterial, fungal and parasitic contamination of cockroaches in public health of Hamadan, Iran. J Vector Borne Dis. 2007. 44: 105–110.

Ranjan KP, Ranjan N, Bansal SK, Arora DR. Prevalence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in post-operative wound infection in a referral hospital in Haryana, India. J Lab Physicians. 2011. 3: 129.

Saitou K, Furuhata K, Kawakami Y, Fukuyama M. Biofilm formation abilities and disinfectant-resistance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from cockroaches captured in hospitals. Biocontrol Sci. 2009; 14:65-8.

Burgess NRH, MacDermott SN, Whitting J. Laboratory transmission of enterobacteriaceae by the oriental cockroach, Blatta orientalis. J Hyg. 1973; 71: 9-14.

Vythilingam I, Jeffery J, Oothuman P, AbdulRazak AR, Sulaiman A. Cockroaches from urban human dwellings: isolation of pathogens and control. Asian J Trop Med 1997; 28: 218-222.

Rivault C, Cloarec A, Le Guyader A. Bacterial contamination of food by cockroaches. Environ Health. 1993; 55:21-22.

Anagnostakis D, Kamba A, Petrochilou V, Arseni A, Matsaniotis N. Risk of infection associated with umbilical vein catheterization. A prospective study in 75 newborn infants. J Pediatr. 1975; 86:759-765.

Schoenbaum SC, Gardner P, Shillito J. Infections of cerebrospinal fluid shunts: epidemiology, clinical manifestations and therapy. J Infect Dis. 1975; 131:543–52.

Sleator RD, Watson D, Hill C, Gahan CGM. The interaction between Listeria monocytogenes and the host gastrointestinal tract. Microbiology. 2009 ;155 : 2463-2475.

Catalano M, Quelle LS, Jeric PE, Martino A, Maimone SM. Survival of Acinetobacter baumannii on bed rails during an outbreak and during sporadic cases. J Hosp Infect. 1999; 42:27-35.

Devi SJN, Murray CJ. Cockroaches (Blatta and Periplaneta species) as reservoirs of drug-resistant salmonellas. Epidemiol Infect. 1991; 107: 357-361.

Tachbele E, Erku W, Michael T. Ashenafi M.Cockroach-associated food-borne bacterial pathogens from some hospitals and restaurants in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Distribution and antibiograms. J Rural Trop Public Health. 2006; 5: 34-41.



How to Cite

Zacharia, S., A. Peter, and J. Mathew. “P. AMERICANA AS AN INTESTINAL CARRIER OF NOSOCOMIAL AND FOOD BORNE BACTERIAL PATHOGENS”. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, vol. 6, no. 4, Oct. 2013, pp. 38-41, https://innovareacademics.in/journals/index.php/ajpcr/article/view/481.