…𝑷𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒔 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒚𝒑𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝒂𝒅𝒗𝒊𝒔𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒆𝒎𝒑𝒍𝒐𝒚 𝒄𝒐𝒍𝒅 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔, 𝒂𝒅𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒐𝒓𝒂𝒍 𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒉𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒔 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒄𝒆𝒕𝒊𝒓𝒊𝒛𝒊𝒏𝒆, 𝒖𝒕𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒛𝒆 𝒕𝒐𝒑𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒍 𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒐𝒊𝒅𝒔 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒂𝒔 𝒉𝒚𝒅𝒓𝒐𝒄𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒊𝒔𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒊𝒏 𝒔𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒄𝒂𝒔𝒆𝒔, 𝒕𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒐𝒓𝒂𝒍 𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒅𝒏𝒊𝒔𝒐𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆
By Phurpa Wangmo
Phuentsholing Hospital has recorded nearly 170 cases of allergic reactions to the toxin of the Nairobi Fly, a rove beetle from the Paederus family over the past month. This condition, known as Beetle Dermatitis, arises when the insect is inadvertently crushed against the skin.
The beetle, which contains a certain toxin called paederin, triggers inflammation upon contact, resulting in symptoms such as pain, itching, formation of multiple small blisters surrounded by redness, and the rash patterns often occur in linear shapes, indicating the spread of crushed insect matter across the skin.
According to the Doctors from Phuentsholing Hospital, the treatment for this condition primarily focuses on symptom management. Patients are typically advised to apply cold compressions, administer oral antihistamines like cetirizine, application of topical steroids such as hydrocortisone ointment, and in some cases, given oral prednisolone. Fortunately, the condition is usually self-limiting, with rashes healing naturally within a period of 2 to 4 weeks after onset, leaving no lasting scars.
Addressing concerns about potential long-term complications, hospital officials reassure the public that Beetle Dermatitis does not pose any significant risks beyond the immediate allergic reaction. However, in rare instances of secondary bacterial infections, indicated by worsening skin lesions with pus formation, increasing swelling, redness, pain, and accompanying fever, patients may require antibiotic courses.
Nairobi fly is the common name for two species of rove beetle in the genus Paederus, native to East Africa. The beetles contain a corrosive substance known as pederin, which can cause chemical burns if it comes into contact with skin. Because of these burns, the Nairobi fly is sometimes referred to as a “dragon bug.” The beetles live in moist habitats and are often beneficial to agriculture because they will eat crop pests. Adults are attracted to incandescent and fluorescent lights, and as a result, inadvertently come into contact with humans. The beetles neither sting nor bite, but their haemolymph contains pederin, a potent toxin that causes blistering and Paederus dermatitis. The toxin is released when the beetle is crushed against the skin, often at night, when sleepers inadvertently brush the insect from their faces. People are advised to gently brush or blow the insect off their skin to prevent irritation.
To prevent incidents of Nairobi Fly allergic reactions, the hospital advises people to avoid crushing these beetles against the skin, and instead blowing them away from the skin surface if contact occurs. Additionally, during the night-time it is essential to keep doors and windows closed to prevent the insects from entering homes. The Nairobi Fly is attracted to artificial light sources and can infiltrate houses lured by the illumination. In case of contact, washing the affected area with soap and water followed by cold compressions is advised.
While most patients do not require follow-up appointments after recovery, medical officials caution that individuals should remain vigilant for any signs of deterioration. If there is a worsening of skin lesions, with the formation of pus, increased swelling, redness, pain, and persistent fever, it is crucial to seek medical attention promptly. Prompt treatment, including possible antibiotic courses, can effectively address secondary bacterial infections.
The Phuentsholing Hospital continues to monitor the situation closely and urges the public to take necessary precautions to avoid Nairobi Fly allergic reactions.