Can Cockroaches Spread Disease?

Cockroaches are quite similar to filth and dirt. Their poor eating habits allow them to easily ingest and transmit viruses, bacteria, fungi and other pathogenic microorganisms. This leads to contamination on food and surfaces. They’re also deemed to be a dangererous trigger of asthma and source of allergen. 

This information leaves us all with one burning question. Can cockroaches spread diseases? 

Can Cockroaches Spread Diseases? 

It’s believed that cockroaches may carry a range of different diseases. They can carry bacteria including E.Coli, salmonella, staphylococcus and streptococcus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cockroaches have been known to play a role as carriers of intestinal diseases, such as:

  • Dysentery. 
  • Diarrhea. 
  • Cholera. 
  • Typhoid Fever.

Cockroaches can also possess certain viruses such as the poliovirus. It’s thought that diseases may be transmitted to humans once they eat food contaminated by the cockroaches. 

3 Ways Cockroaches Can Spread Diseases

Cockroaches are able to transmit diseases through their droppings, saliva or by direct contact.

In Cockroach Droppings

From food spills to faecal matter, cockroaches will virtually eat anything, which results in unsanitary eating habits. That ingested bacteria will enter and can survive in their digestive system for months or even years. 

Harmful pathogens are then passed through cockroach droppings, contaminating surfaces and food by vomiting and defecating on them. You may find droppings underneath your kitchen counters and behind your kitchen drawers.

Through Cockroach Saliva

The saliva from cockroaches can also play a role in the spread of a range of diseases. Much like cockroach droppings, their saliva can also harbor pathogens collected from eaten contaminated items. 

By Direct Contact

Cockroaches generally live in drains, sewers, garbage bins and cesspits. During the time spent in their “home”, cockroaches come into contact with a variety of organisms including viruses and bacteria. 

Anything they touch or rub against can become contaminated. This is because their legs have spines that are sensitive to touch, which provide a large surface area that collects pathogens. 

Types of Diseases From Cockroaches

Cockroaches are suspected carriers of the organisms that cause certain infections and diseases including:

  • Salmonellosis.
  • Dysentery.
  • Typhoid Fever.
  • Campylobacteriosis.
  • Leprosy.
  • Gastroenteritis.
  • Listeriosis.
  • Cholera.
  • Giardia.


Hiring a professional pest control company for help will effectively and greatly reduce the risk of cockroach diseases. Dayton’s Pest Control provides the best services in Tennessee. Visit our website or contact us today for more information.