The department said the fly was widely found in Africa, and dogs and rodents
were the usual hosts. Humans were accidental hosts.
Although it is not usually found in the North West province, it is found
in other parts of South Africa such as Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.
It is related to the weather pattern and is
common in the lowveld, in hot humid areas, said provincial health
spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane.
The department reported on Tuesday that the sickness had hit several villages
People come to clinics complaining that their body is itching. Within
three days small sores develop.
A yellow spot then develops from each sore as it gets ripe. Once the sore
is expressed a worm comes out of it.
Lekgethwane said the Communicable Disease Control Unit had consulted widely
regarding the outbreak.
It and other reliable sources including the parasitology unit of the National
Institute of Communicable Diseases had agreed it was Cutaneous Myiasis.
A female fly lays eggs on clothes or soil contaminated with urine or faeces.
The larvae that emerge from the eggs penetrate the skin painlessly.
An enlarging papule (small pimple), resembling a boil, develops over about six
Eventually the larva is large enough for close examination to reveal small dark
lines with pus in the centre.
The department said treatment consisted of covering the lesion with Vaseline or
liquid paraffin which suffocated the larva.
Treatment should be left on for 30 minutes to an hour and then the larva should
be pushed out via finger pressure.
It said attempted removal by instruments may rupture the larva and cause severe
Although the ironing of clothes would kill any eggs laid on them, washing should
not be laid on the ground to dry, it said.
As a department we are positive that we are responding as necessary to
deal with this new health problem.
The... outbreak response team has been investigating the source of the
problem since it was initially unknown to them, said North West Health MEC
Health promotion messages had already begun under the suspicion of the
same condition. Now that it has been confirmed, the same messages will be
Feedback has been given to the affected sub-district, and other sub-districts
would be informed of the condition and the need for intensified surveillance.
It was important that all people affected reported to the nearest clinic to get
personal assistance and advice, Lekgethwane said. - Sapa