Skip to main content
Arthropods as vectors of infection and AMR

The AVIAR study

While the misuse of antibiotics in human medicine and agriculture is a key contributor to the global rise and spread of AMR, many other factors are related to AMR dissemination. These include the role played by arthropods (including spiders, flies and cockroaches) on the transmission of drug-resistant bacteria.

Previously, we demonstrated a role for arthropods as vectors of multidrug-resistant bacteria in Peshawar, northern Pakistan. We are now expanding on these studies, including additional clinical sites to create a global profile of AMR in arthropods and investigating how AMR carriage is influenced by climate change. We are actively recruiting new collaborators for this study - see below how to get involved.

The global burden of AMR

AMR is a leading global cause of death, with recent estimates suggesting that almost 1.3 million deaths a year are attributable to bacterial AMR alone. The global burden of AMR is increasing, yet comprehensive data on the frequency of common resistant infections and on the key factors mediating AMR transmission are still lacking, particularly from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

AMR and flies

Whilst flies, particularly filth flies, are well known to carry bacteria, their role in disseminating AMR is still relatively unclear. Previously, we found evidence that different arthropods (including ants, spiders, flies, and cockroaches) play a role in the transmission of drug-resistant infections in a public hospital in Peshawar, northern Pakistan. However, there is little data on a global scale examining then role of arthropods in increasing AMR and dissemination.

Flies and climate change

Like AMR, climate change is a serious threat to human health, and previous studies have suggested that rising temperatures may lead to increased infection rates. Temperature increases are also predicted to impact arthropods, with the current population of flies projected to increase and accentuate disease transmission. Given the potential role of flies as vectors spreading AMR, it is important to understand how climate change may affect their distribution around the globe and their ability to carry and disseminate resistant bacteria.

Looking for collaborators

The aims of AVIAR are to investigate the role of flies and arthropods as vectors of AMR transmission and to monitor how this is impacted by climate change. As part of this project, we intend to generate a “global AMR profile of flies” in the hospital setting by collecting flies from up to 80 countries (see map). For this, we are currently enlisting collaborators from hospitals around the world. If you would like to participate in this study, please email us.

Created with

What we are looking for

We are particularly looking for collaborators working in hospitals in any of the countries shown in red on the map above (or listed here). If you work in a hospital in a different country and are interested in collaborating with us, you can still get in touch with us as we may expand to new countries.

The work will involve the collection of flies using sticky fly traps placed in selected wards in hospitals and hospital corridors within the study sites, and the collection of antibiotic usage data within the ward. We will send you a fly collection pack will all the relevant materials, cover all shipping costs, and the collected flies will be shipped back to Oxford for analysis.

This project involves low time commitment – we estimate that it would require around one hour per day for approximately one to two weeks to complete the collection of flies. Interested collaborators should have access to a smartphone that can capture the GPS location of the fly traps within the wards and should have access to a fridge to store the fly samples.

We intend to include collaborators in any published materials arising from this project, and to share relevant data with collaborating sites.

Get in touch

If you are interested in participating, please email us.

Learn more