- NET Web Desk
The rove beetles or Nairobi Flies, a saffron-coloured insect which releases potent toxin resulting into skin rashes, is wrecking havoc along the campus of Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology (SMIT).
According to reports, more than 100 students have contracted the infection. Majority of such cases have been reported from the moist regions of Jorethang in South Sikkim, and Majhitar in East Sikkim.
However, the state health authorities are yet to confirm the news; and will comment on the infection, after conducting thorough research.
The Information, Education and Communication Officer of Sikkim Health Department – Sonam Gyaltsen Bhutia informed that “these flies don’t bite. We should not touch the beetle, as it emit poisons. Simply blow it, with a gentle breeze. After blowing it off, wash both the hands with soap.”
“Squeezing or crushing the insect, emits the poison. It is estimated that atleast 100 students have contracted the infection, while one pupil had to get his hand operated due to the toxin.” – he further added.
The beetles do not sting or bite, but their haemolymph contains pederin, a strong toxin that can result in Paederus dermatitis and blistering. If it comes into contact with skin, it might result into chemical burns, due to which such beetles are usually referred as “dragon bug”.
The major features of ‘Nairobi Fly’ is their red and black colouration; warning colours of their toxicity and very long body.
However, the severity of the dermatitis depends on each individual case, the dose of pederin and duration of contact.
“Mild cases of dermatitis consist of a slight redness of the skin. Moderate cases will start itching after about 24 hours and develop blisters at about 48 hours – these usually dry out and don’t leave scars. More severe cases could happen if the toxin is more widespread over the body and could cause fever, nerve pains, joint pains or vomiting,” – informed The Conservation report.
The key preventative measures to reduce contact with rove beetles, include the use of bed nets, long-sleeve clothing and avoiding sitting under lights at night.