Home News N Cape sees an increase in mango fly worm cases

N Cape sees an increase in mango fly worm cases

640
SHARE

As a prevention, the NICD advises that washing should not be laid on the ground to dry. “The ironing of clothes will kill eggs or larvae.”

THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Health has confirmed that health facilities in the Province have treated an increased number of myiasis cases – maggot infestations under the skin on humans.

Department of Health spokesperson, Lulu Mxekezo, said yesterday that three cases had been treated in Jan Kempdorp and two in Kimberley in April.

“It is not an alarming number but we are getting cases in places that have not reported any cases before,” said Mxekezo.

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) said in a recent statement that it had been consulted about numerous cutaneous maggot infestations (furuncular myiasis) in humans in the North West province, as well as increased sporadic cases in Gauteng.

“Our laboratory has confirmed that the maggots are those of the tumbu fly (also known as the ‘mango’ or ‘putsi’ fly).”

“The increase in the number of cases has been attributed to the recent marked increase in seasonal rainfall, leading to the expansion of the fly’s normal range, namely the warmer northern and eastern parts of the country.”

The mango fly worm usually lays its eggs in urine or faeces contaminated sand, or on clothing. When the maggots hatch they penetrate the skin, leaving a hole through which the worm breathes.

When the maggot reaches the end of its life cycle, it leaves the wound and falls to the ground where it pupates into an adult fly.

According to the NICD, the lesions may be complicated by secondary bacterial infection.

“The condition is readily treated by applying petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or liquid paraffin to the affect area. This suffocates the maggots and lubricates the cavity in the skin which forces the maggots to the skin’s surface and they can then be squeezed out.

It added further that incision or use of forceps or other instruments is unnecessary and should be avoided, as inflammation or secondary infection is more likely if the larva and/or skin is damaged.

“Domestic dogs and rodents are commonly affected, sometimes with large numbers of lesions.”

As a prevention, the NICD advises that washing should not be laid on the ground to dry. “The ironing of clothes will kill eggs or larvae.”

Affected dogs should be dipped in an appropriate insecticide solution, as for prevention of tick or flea infestation, under veterinary guidance.

Professor John Frean of the Parasitology Reference Laboratory, at the NICD said the parasite was not dangerous but could cause boil-like sores.

“These flies are not fussy, they will not only feed on humans but animals like dogs,” he said.

The last time there has been a big outbreak in South Africa was in 2006.

As temperatures cool down, the mango fly worm is likely to retreat from this area to warmer regions.