Several People Affected by Deadly Acid Bugs in Lofa County

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Lofa County – It is farming season in Lofa County and farmers are now planting rice. This year’s farming activities seems to be a serious challenge and difficult for farmers, as an unknown acid-bug or insect has hit the county.

Nairobi Fly, as it is commonly called in the County, the insect is a black and red stripped bug. Its actual name is Paederus Sabaeus, and besides the Paederus dermatitis (skin irritation), the bug is harmful.

Many of the young folks who supposed to go on the farms to help the older ones are staying at home due to injury inflicted on them by the bug either on the hand, chest, stomach or back.

Mother Lorpu Mawolo a 21- year old daughter of Miatta Zazay has stopped going on the farm to help due to the wound sustained from the Nairobi Fly.

Miatta woke up one morning and the both of us went on the farm, as we were working, she started feeling pains in her hand and scratched it, after few minutes her entire hand was like sore from the Nairobi Fly, she no longer come with me on the farm she is home until her sore is better,” she noted.

People usually slap the bug whenever it touches any part of their body. It advisable people always blow it off or gently get rid of it.

However, if you slap it, and the acid touches any part of the body, it will create blister leading to sore on the skin.

Once gone, the blisters leave dark spots on the skin; and only an anti-inflammatory cream can be applied on the affected area to ease any eventual pain.

Winner Kollie 37, a victim said she woke up in the morning and felt her left hand painful and her skin was peeling off.

“I never knew that it was the Nairobi Fly, so I overlooked it, but by evening hours I started seeing and feeling blisters on my hands, when I burst the smaller blister, the water touched other parts of my hand and the sore on my hand started spreading,” she noted.

Winner later realized that immediate washing with water on the area and repeatedly washing it with a lot of soap can cause no harm to the body when an individual kills the insect on the body.

“I got to know later that when I repeatedly washed the place with soap and water constantly nothing can happen to the spot you killed it,” Winner explained.

The bug lives in bushes surrounding houses, in which it hides during the day and at night it gets out, attracted by fluorescent lights. The places where those small bugs are mostly seen are toilet seats and ceilings from where they fall on their victims.

The Nairobi Fly is a species of the rove beetle paederus and is black and red in colour, and about 6–10 mm long. They live in rotting leaves where they lay their eggs. They are new to Liberia but common in East and North Africa.

The beetles neither sting nor bite, but their Haemolyymph 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.

Although they don’t bite or sting, they contain a substance that causes painful blisters.

Many young and older people in Voinjama Lofa County are victims of the Nairobi Fly, but people don’t care whether they are affected since the impact of the fly does not prevent them from carrying out their normal business.

Unlike the Ebola virus that kills faster and came to Lofa from Guinea, most of the victims of the Nairobi Fly don’t care to go to hospital and treat the sore caused by the insect.

The Medical Director at the Tellewoyan Memorial Hospital in Voinjama, Lofa County Dr. Zuana Musa Kamara said he has heard people, and some of his staffs talking about the fly and the wounds it causes on the body but there is not one person he has treated who was affected by the fly.

“Yes I heard people around town talked about it, I have seen the wounds on people but they have not come to the hospital for treatment,” he explained.

Many young people in the County are their own doctors; they treat themselves when they get affected by the fly. Citizens of Lofa have discovered that gasoline kills the acid in the insect once applied quickly on the skin bearing the spot.

Junior Saah is a security officer of Wright Security Service in Lofa, he explained that gasoline helps a lot to cure the wounds caused by the Nairobi Fly.

“If you mistakenly kill it on your skin, you should immediately put gas on the spot, it will dry the sore,” he disclosed.

Commercial bikers in the county are seen with gasoline in smaller mineral water bottles to help treat themselves whenever they get bitten by the fly.

James Mulbah rides bike in central Voinjama, he explained that he don’t go around light at night, he prefers staying far from the light and looking for his passengers to avoid encounter with the Nairobi Fly.

“Since this fly came to Lofa and I started seeing the sore on people, I cannot go around light at night, and if I even feel something creeping on me, I don’t slap and kill it, I remove it gently from my body to avoid the water touching my skin,” he said.

The Nairobi Fly comes during the plum season and they are found on plums leaking water.

Edwin G. Genoway, Jr – [email protected]

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