Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Nairobi fly a serious health threat in Bihar's Seemanchal region

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | July 17, 2022 10:46 AM

While the country is facing the fourth wave of coronavirus, another threat is looming large in Bihars Seemanchal region with people in Kishanganj, Purnea, Araria and Katihar districts facing the threat of the Nairobi fly.
PATNA: While the country is facing the fourth wave of coronavirus, another threat is looming large in Bihars Seemanchal region with people in Kishanganj, Purnea, Araria and Katihar districts facing the threat of the Nairobi fly.

A number of people have been infected with Nairobi fly in Bihar's Kishanganj district with the health department on alert mode. The officials are creating awareness among the people to protect themselves from the Nairobi fly. Though there are no official figures about the infected patients, the health department has directed the civil surgeons of those districts connected to North Bengal to make arrangements in case cases increase in the region.

Nairobi fly is an extremely dangerous drake which, on touching the human body, releases an acidic toxic liquid called pedrin that leads to burning in the affected areas of the skin and if the liquid touches the eyes or it sits on the eye, it can make people blind. If the Nairobi fly, which is also known as acid fly, sit on an open wound, it may damage the vital organs of the body after the pedrin mixes with the blood.

Keeping this in view, Bihar's health department wrote to the civil surgeons of Kishanganj, Purnea and Araria districts and directed them to alert the medical superintendents and in-charge of all primary health centres, common health centre and sub-divisional hospitals.

Dr Kaushal Kishore Prasad, civil surgeon of Kishanganj, told IANS: "Some cases came to the knowledge of the district administration and we have treated them. A woman came to Sadat hospital for treatment a few days ago and she recovered."

"Basically, hilly areas are considered the breeding grounds of the Nairobi fly. Our district is adjoining Siliguri of West Bengal where a number of cases have appeared. Hence we are on the alert," Prasad said.

"Nairobi fly is attracted to light. Hence, the chances of its attack are maximum in the night. If we use a mosquito net, people could save themselves from it. We are also telling people to wear full sleeves, trousers or pyjamas to cover the maximum part of the body," Prasad said.

Dr SK Verma, civil surgeon of Purnea said: "Nairobi fly is considered dangerous as it releases pedrin toxic chemicals which burn the skin and the affected areas become spotted. If it sits on the eyes or the pedrin chemical touches the eyes, the infected person may turned blind or partially lose their eyesight."

"When it sits on any person, they could gently whisk it off or use cotton or paper to remove it from the body. Following that, the infected part should be cleaned with cold water followed by an antiseptic. Killing the Nairobi fly is dangerous as its chemical may spread on your body more," Verma said.

"We have directed sub-divisional hospitals Dhamdaha, Banmankhi, referral hospital Rupauli, and every primary and common health centre to stay alert and take adequate measures. We have also initiated fogging in the region and appealed to the residents to observe proper sanitation in their houses and adjoining areas," Verma said.

There is another theory spreading in the region that land used for pineapple farming is turning out to be ideal breeding ground for the Nairobi fly. Pineapple is a sweet and juicy fruit widely cultivated in West Bengal's hilly areas like Darjeeling, Siliguri and in Sikkim. A large amount of pineapples is also transported to Seemanchal and North Bihar areas.

The official however said that it generally breeds in the foothills of mountains but it can fly to new places as well.

Dr Sunil Kumar Gupta, a Purnea based skin specialist said: "The identification of Nairobi fly is the most important aspect to prevent infection. It is an African origin fly generally found in Kenya, Tanzania, in central and south east African countries. It has an orange and black body. It also has wings and the rear portion of the body is slightly curved."

"When it releases pedrin, it burns the skin. It works like low PH acid on the body and inflicts burn injuriest. In some cases, the victim complains of fever and vomiting. After the rains, cases of infected persons are increasing here. The best option is to contact specialist doctors and take antibiotic ointments, tablets and properly clean the infected areas," Gupta said.

The district health committee of Purnea has warned people to avoid going to places where fruits like pineapples are stored. The fly is also attracted to sweets. Hence it is best to avoid sweets from shops which sell them in the open.

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