A microbiologist, Victoria Aikhomu, on Monday urged appropriate drying of clothes to remove residual eggs which could cause myiasis, especially in children.
Aikhomu, a parasitologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, in Lagos.
She said that personal and environmental hygiene would prevent myiasis.
She defined myiasis as the infestation of any area of the skin with a developing larvae (maggot) by any fly specie.
“The eggs of the fly get attached to the underside of the female mosquitoes and penetrates the unbroken skin while the mosquito feeds.
“The eggs may also get attached with the clothing or towel left out in the open to dry and then enter the human skin,’’ the expert said.
According to her, the larvae can enter the body through open wounds and lesions or even through broken skin.
“Some enter the human body through the nose and ears and can also reach the stomach which leads to gastric or intestinal disorder,” Aikhomu said.
According to the expert, myiasis is a like boil and develops rapidly.
“It is always red in colour and tender to touch.
“Symptoms of myiasis include itching, sensation of movement, stabbing pain (often at night) and a serosanguinous (thin, yellow or bloody) discharge and fever,’’ she told NAN.
She advised that victims should apply petroleum jelly and liquid substance over the affected area to deprive the larva of oxygen.
“Extraction of the larva can be made by gentle pressure around the site of infestation by occlusion of the opening.”
She urged governments and individuals to always clean environments including drains, especially during rainy season to prevent breed of mosquitoes and flies.
“Individuals should always use window screens, long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, insect repellents, insecticides and adequate protective clothing to avoid infestation of larvae.
“Disposing of rotten foods or waste materials properly is very important because flies and insects are attracted to them and lay eggs on the rotten waste which can contaminate foods.
“They should visit any healthcare provider to clean wounds properly and change dressing daily to keep flies and mosquitoes from reaching the skin.”