Can You Get Sick From Roaches in Your House?

Roaches are among the most disliked insects in the world for a reason. These bugs feed on pretty much anything and are associated with unsanitary conditions. You will often find them in sewers and drains. Additionally, they feed on fecal matter, rotting food, and just about anything else.

As a result, they can carry harmful bacteria and microorganisms that cause serious illnesses.

Can you get sick from roaches in your house? You can theoretically get sick from roaches in the house, but actual recorded illnesses are rare. Get rid of your roach problem because it’s gross, not because you’re worried you’ll get sick from them!

This article is going to discuss:

  • How cockroaches spread diseases
  • The diseases they spread and
  • How to prevent them from invading your home 

Let’s dive in!

Can You Get Sick From Roaches in Your House?

Roaches are reservoirs of disease-causing organisms, and it is possible they could spread disease to people through:

  • Droppings
  • Vomit and saliva
  • Direct contact with surfaces and food

However, it should be noted that there aren’t a whole lot of directly-causation linked reports of sickness due to cockroaches.

Yes, sickness could clearly occur. But it’s hard to prove that the cause of the illness was a roach somewhere down the line.

Let’s look at the ways a roach could contaminate food and surfaces, and what might happen if they do so.

1. Roach Droppings or Feces

Cockroaches feed on a variety of contaminated foods. When these bugs feed on unsanitary foods, they ingest bacteria that can survive in their digestive tract for months. They then defecate directly on food or surfaces, resulting in contamination.

Cockroaches feed on a variety of contaminated foods.

You can get serious gastrointestinal diseases by eating food that has roach droppings. In addition, the bugs can defecate on surfaces like unclean tables and kitchen counters. Eating food placed on contaminated surfaces can also lead to one contracting diseases.

2. Cockroach Saliva and Vomit

Cockroach vomit and saliva are harmful to human health. These bugs are known to vomit and excrete saliva on food, and these excrements can pollute exposed and uncovered foods when they throw up.

When bacteria and pathogens contaminate the food, you may contract diarrhea.

3. Direct Contact

Cockroaches move around a lot and contaminate many items. For example, touching utensils or anything contaminated by cockroaches and rubbing your eyes can transmit harmful pathogens to your body.

Cockroaches move around a lot and contaminate many items.

Roaches come into contact with viruses, bacteria, and fungi from sewers and garbage disposal areas. For that reason, the microorganisms get attached to their bodies.

More so, their legs offer a large surface area on which to pick up pathogens which are then transmitted when they come into contact with humans.

Which Diseases do Roaches Spread?

Roaches are carriers of pathogens and harmful bacteria. They rarely transmit diseases directly, but could indirectly spread disease through contaminated food and surfaces.

Because these bugs multiply quickly, they can easily and quickly spread diseases across your home. 

Moreover, the salmonella bacteria transmitted by cockroaches are resistant to antibacterial drugs. This makes controlling diseases caused by roaches difficult. 

Here is more on the diseases transmitted by these notorious bugs.

1. Asthma and Allergic Reactions

Roaches cause allergic reactions in some people. For example, some people contract rashes when cockroaches crawl on them. In addition, their feces contain proteins that trigger allergies in some people.

People living in urban areas are more exposed to cockroach allergens. These fecal matter spread through air and dust, and the allergens can lead to an allergic reaction if you inhale them.

Children are prone to contracting asthma when inhaling air or dust containing cockroaches’ dried body parts or feces. 

2. Diarrhea

Cockroaches pollute uncovered or exposed foods with feces, saliva, or vomit. As a result, one can easily get food poisoning from eating contaminated foods. In addition, frequent diarrhea causes dehydration, which can be life-threatening to young children.

Diarrhea also affects our normal lives since it makes it difficult to do daily activities such as going to work. 

3. Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis occurs when the bacteria in your gut cause an infection. Cockroaches spread harmful bacteria that can travel to your gut and inflame your stomach and intestines. 

Some symptoms of gastroenteritis are vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping, and abdominal pain. Additionally, people with gastroenteritis report loss of appetite and nausea. Sometimes the symptoms can be mild. However, severe gastroenteritis is life-threatening.

4. Dysentery

Roaches carry harmful organisms that cause diseases like dysentery due to food contamination. Dysentery leads to severe diarrhea that may sometimes include bleeding and mucus. Other symptoms of dysentery are high fever and vomiting.

Dysentery easily causes dehydration which may require hospitalization.

5. Salmonellosis

Cockroaches are major carriers of salmonella bacteria. Just like dysentery and gastroenteritis, Salmonella causes diarrhea in humans. This condition also causes abdominal cramping, and some people experience fever.

The disease can be mistaken for food poisoning due to similar symptoms.

6. Parasitic Worms

Roaches carry pathogens that may cause parasitic worms like pinworm, tapeworm, hookworm, and roundworm. These worms are hazardous to human health and can lead to malnutrition. Most attach themselves to the intestines and feed on the digested food to be absorbed into the body.

Other parasites, such as hookworm, pierce the skin as they attach themselves.

7. Enterococcus

Enterococcus disease is one of the many diseases transmitted by bacteria carried by cockroaches. Unfortunately, this disease is hard to diagnose and is also difficult to treat.

Moreover, severe Enterococcus may cause urinary tract infections and meningitis. 

How to Prevent Cockroaches From Spreading 

Some of the measures that you can take to prevent these stubborn bugs from invading your homes and spreading diseases include:

  1. Sealing cracks and gaps in windows and doors
  2. Covering exposed foods
  3. Storing food in tightly-sealed containers
  4. Washing fruits before eating
  5. Emptying trash regularly
  6. Wiping kitchen surfaces
  7. Contacting specialists to help eradicate cockroaches in your home


Cockroaches are carriers of many pathogens, viruses, and microorganisms. They feed on fecal matter and are often found in unsanitary places like sewers and drains. Therefore, they host many harmful diseases and are carriers of several pathogens and parasites.

However, cockroaches don’t tend to make people sick directly. Indirectly, they could easily make people sick, but such causation is hard to prove.

Regardless, you want to get rid of any roach infestation before it gets beyond your control.

It is important to maintain cleanliness and keep the bugs at bay. Some measures to prevent roaches from spreading or invading your home include sealing cracks and holes in walls and doors.

In addition, covering food and storing it in tightly-sealed containers is key to preventing food contamination and controlling infestation.