Cockroaches can carry pathogens that cause asthma, allergies, abscesses, boils, bubonic plague, diarrhea, dysentery, gastroenteritis, intestinal infections, leprosy, lesions, typhoid fever, urinary tract infections and more. Of all domestic insects, roaches are most likely to carry bacteria that cause human food poisoning. Bacteria such as Streptococcus, coliform, salmonella, staphylococcus and clostridium may travel from a cockroach in a kitchen to food and people. Some people have an allergy to cockroach oils and break out in hives when exposed directly or through contaminated food. In homes with heavy infestations, cockroaches actually may feed on sleeping people by nibbling at sores, eyelashes, eyebrows and finger - and toenails.