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'The Fly Danger', poster, United Kingdom, 1918

This poster explains the health dangers associated with flies. The large illustration, magnified to scary proportions, shows the parts of the fly that are responsible for contagion. Flies can spread disease by picking up germs from rubbish, faeces, and dirt before landing and vomiting on uncovered food. The poster advises people to cover food and suggests methods of killing flies using swatters, traps and chemical preparations. Produced by the Natural History Museum (then attached to the British Museum), the poster also states that “fly killing competitions are useful and to be encouraged”.

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Glossary: poster

Notice, usually printed on paper, intended to be posted to advertise, promote, or publicise an activity, cause, product, or service; also, decorative, mass-produced prints intended for hanging.

Glossary: contagion

A historic expression referring to the transmission of disease between people by means of direct contact.