A fly may act as a mechanical vector of diseases such as Hepatitis A, which means the fly carries the infective organism on its feet or mouth parts and contaminates food or water which a person then consumes. A biological vector actually develops an infective organism in its body and passes it along to its host, usually through its saliva. A fly can be a biological vector, as in the transmission of leishmaniasis by the sandfly.
Review Date 10/22/2017
Updated by: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.