Tumbu Fly

Trip Start Mar 23, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Missouri
Sunday, March 23, 2008

So I've been reading up on the various diabolic bugs my body may play host to during the trip and here is a little excerpt from "Healthy Travel Africa" I found amusing.

The tumbu fly lays its eggs on the ground and on laundry put out to dry. The larvae burrow into the skin of humans, where they mature, breathing through an opening in the skin. Once mature, after about a week, they exit through the opening. They cause multiple boils, often on the thighs or buttocks and worse. The boils have a central black mark which is the breathing hole of the larva, and a characteristic symptom is felling the larva moving about in the swelling. The larva don't cause any diseases, but seccondary infection is common.
The aim of treatment is to extract the larva. Blocking the larva's breathing hole with something like petroleum jelly can cause it to come up for air, at which stage you can grab hold of it. Alternatively, you could try tempting it out with a piece of raw meat: just place the meat over the hole and wait for the larva to bite...
Other options are to perform minor surgery to open up the hole so that the larva can be extracted with forceps. You could be kinder to the larva and apply a small bandage over the boil to suffocate it (leave it in place for three to four days to be sure), then remove it and the larva. It's important to remove the larva intact, as half a worm can cause an intensely irritant reaction.
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