Nairobi Flies: All You Need to Know
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 What is Nairobi fly?

⦁ Nairobi fly is a member of the Staphylinidae family of rove beetles, native to East Africa.

⦁ These flies exude pederin (acid) that causes chemical burns if it comes into contact with skin.

⦁ Nairobi fly is sometimes referred to as a “dragon bug”.

 The appearance of Nairobi fly?

⦁ An insect that is predominantly black and red.

⦁ Their head, lower abdomen and elytra are black whereas the thorax & upper abdomen are red.

What brings Nairobi fly in contact with a human?

⦁ Adult beetles are attracted to incandescent and fluorescent lights hence they come in contact with humans.

⦁ Heavy rains also provide conditions for Nairobi Flies to thrive.

Is Nairobi fly poisonous?

⦁ They do not bite or sting. Burns are caused when the beetle is slightly or completely squashed. This releases the ‘juices’ from the haemolymph, the invertebrate equivalent of blood. The toxin causing these burns is called pederin, a potent toxin that causes blistering and “Paederus dermatitis”.

How long does the rash last?

⦁ A blistering rash occurs 24–48 hours after brushing against or crushing the beetle against the skin and can take several weeks to disappear.

What is the treatment for Nairobi fly bite?

⦁ Wash the affected area with soap & water.

⦁ Apply mild steroid cream like Hydrocortisone cream in combination with Mupirocin twice a day x 7 days.

⦁ Oral antihistaminics – Levocetirizine thrice daily x 10 days.

Measures when contact with this fly?

⦁ Don’t try to kill the fly.

⦁ Flick away the fly gently.

⦁ Upon contact wash the affected part with soap and water, no scratching and visit the doctor.

Home remedies for Nairobi fly bites:

⦁ Clean the area with soap and water.

⦁ Place a cool compress or cloth-covered ice pack over the bite to reduce swelling and minimize irritation and pain.

⦁ Take an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, to reduce discomfort.

The author of this article, Dr. Disha Chakraborty is a senior doctor of the Dermatology department in Central Referral Hospital, Gangtok, Sikkim.

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