On Saturday August 5, the Spanish health authorities alerted the population and holidaymakers to the proliferation of black flies favored by the last heat waves. Be careful, the bite of black flies can lead to hospitalization!
Be careful if you spend your summer holidays in Spain. I’Spanish Association of Environmental Health Societies (Anecpla) warned of the dangerousness of the black flies which are currently proliferating in the country, following numerous censuses of bitten holidaymakers. Currently, the communities of Andalusia, Aragon, Catalonia, Madrid, Murcia and the Valencian Community are strongly affected. TipsForWomens takes stock.
Invasion of “black fly” in Spain
In an interview with the La Uno television channel, Jorge Galván, director of Anecpla, said that the rise in temperatures has strongly favored the reproduction of these insects in much of the country.
Jorge Galván, general director of ANECPLA, intervenes in the nightly edition of Telecinco News, explaining the factors that have contributed to the widespread proliferation of the black fly in Spain.#moscanegra #controldeplagas… pic.twitter.com/QWvlGeqKbk
— ANECPLA (@anecpla) August 5, 2023
“The only way we have to avoid an uncontrolled plague of this species is for public administrations to put all their efforts into preventive campaigns prior to the hottest months, which is also the ideal time to apply larviciding treatments, which are the more effective because they fight the pest from the most primary stages of development of individuals and which are also the most harmless both for the rest of the species and for people themselves”, declares the president of Anecpla.
Painful bites that can lead to hospitalization
Native to the tropics of the American continent, the black fly (or blackfly) is a small dark-colored insect, measuring almost between 3 to 6 millimeters in length. These derrieres do not sting because they are devoid of sting, but on the contrary, they bite. “The fundamental problem of this insect: it does not sting, but rather bites in the form of a saw. This generates a serious wound, which can give rise to very alarming infections and allergic reactions. In some cases hospitalization is necessary”, says Anecpla.
As the Spanish media Europa Press (a private Spanish press agency) points out, the black fly is hematophagous, that is to say, it needs to draw blood to complete its life cycle. At the time of the bite, the black fly inoculates its victim with a small dose of anesthetic contained in its saliva. The victim does not then feel the bite at the time. After 5 minutes, severe itching and severe pain occur. A papule of several centimeters and a raised swelling appear, often followed by bleeding. In some cases, this swelling can last up to a month. A bite from a black fly can cause fever, headache and nausea for several weeks. A strong allergic reaction can lead to hospitalization.
But rest assured, this insect does not transmit disease. “Whatever happens, the vector species of pathologies, such as onchocerciasis or river blindness, which can cause blindness, is only observed in West Africa”, explains Gérard Duvallet, medical and veterinary entomologist, professor emeritus at Paul-Valéry University in Montpellier, during an interview with our colleagues at Le Parisien. Moreover, no death caused by the bite of a black fly has ever been recorded in the world.
How to guard against it?
If bitten, Spanish authorities recommend applying ice to reduce inflammation or applying an ointment with a mild corticosteroid. Gérard Duvallet advises to “to pass soap and disinfect the wounds” in the event of a bite.
It is also recommended that you go to a health center or a pharmacy and report the bite to a health professional. This will prevent your condition from getting worse. Be careful, do not scratch yourself! This could aggravate the wound or promote its infection.
Health authorities have also shared some good things to do to protect yourself from black fly bites:
- Avoid walking near waterways at dawn and late in the day. Insects proliferate in these aquatic areas and are more aggressive at these times of the day;
- Cover your body by wearing loose, dark clothing;
- Use the right repellents to avoid bites.