Nairobi fly is a common name for two species of rove beetle also called Dragon Bug.
Paederus dermatitis is a peculiar, irritant contact dermatitis characterized by a sudden onset of erythematobullous lesions on exposed areas of the body. The disease is provoked by an insect belonging to the genus Paederus. This beetle does not bite or sting, but accidental brushing against or crushing the beetle over the skin provokes the release of its coelomic fluid, which contains paederin, a potent vesicant agent.
The fluid contains paederin, a potent vesicant agent. If not immediately washed off, the chemical leads to a linear dermatitis composed of erythematobullous lesions.
GANGTOK,: Blister Bee Dermatitis, also known as Nairobi Fly Dermatitis, has been spreading rapidly at different places in Sikkim with Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology, Duga, IBM and Rangpo being the worst-affected.
Nairobi fly is a common name for two species of rove beetle in the genus Paederus, native to East Africa. The beetle contains a toxic hemolymph 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 symptoms include skin inflammation, rashes and blisters in severe cases.
The rash usually affects body parts not covered by clothing; healing time ranges from 7 to 28 days, usually with permanent skin discoloration.
A local guardian of a student at SMIT stated that, “Nairobi fly is reportedly spreading in and around SMIT campus like wildfire and has already infected almost hundred students with its poisonous acid among which one had to undergo a minor hand operation.”
Rangpo PHC, the main health centre in the region, has been receiving around 8-10 cases daily.
“We have getting around 8 to10 cases per day from Duga, Tamatar, IBM and Rangpo areas. I learnt about the cases at SMIT on June 30. I stay in SMIT itself in the staff quarter and almost 60 students from SMIT boys’ hostel have been infected by Nairobi Fly Dermatitis,” sadi Dr. Sandhya Rai.
“The beetle breeds on mushy areas and SMIT boys’ hostel is located along the riverside and maybe the cases are more there because the Nairobi fly breeds on mushy and humid areas,” she added.
Dr. Rai maintained that the infection is not fatal and treatable with oral treatments. She further informed that the beetle, like any other insect and bug, is attracted to light and urged people to use dim lights at night. The beetle does not bite or sting, but the burn is caused when the beetle is slightly or completely squashed, she added.
“The preventive measures include typical anti-vector precautions, including bed nets, long-sleeve clothing, and avoiding fluorescent lights. If the beetles are found on the skin, brushing them off, rather than crushing them, avoids producing dermatitis and spraying pesticides from time to time.”