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BREVARD, Fla. — Answer this question while you are not eating: Which of the following would make you stop chowing down if you spied them while you were in a restaurant?

• Rodent

• Cockroach

• Flies

• Ants

• Snake or gecko

While 61 percent of 300 people asked by pest-control company Orkin would drop their forks at the sight of a cockroach, it's the lowly fly that presents more of a health hazard.

Yet only 3 percent said the presence of a fly would make them stop eating.

"Many restaurant patrons may not be aware that houseflies are twice as filthy as cockroaches," Orkin entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D., said in an e-mail statement announcing the results of the survey. "It's important that everyone understands the magnitude of the health threats flies pose so that they can help prevent the transmission of dangerous diseases and bacteria."

According to Orkin, flies easily carry communicable diseases. They collect pathogens on their legs and mouths when females lay eggs on decomposing organic matter, such as feces, garbage and animal carcasses.

Flies carry these diseases on their legs and the small hairs that cover their bodies. It takes only a matter of seconds for them to transfer these pathogens to food or touched surfaces.

According to the Mayo Clinic, diseases carried by flies are typhoid, cholera and dysentery. Symptoms of these conditions can include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, headaches and lethargy.

Antibiotics are the standard treatment.

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