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Agony in Kiharu as strange flies make locals' lives miserable

Thursday September 12 2019

Mr Mwangi Kuria at his home in Kandundu village.

Mr Mwangi Kuria displaying scars from bites by strange flies at his home in Kandundu village in Kiharu, Murang'a County. Residents say the flies come from a dumpsite which is 200 meters from their homes and called for government intervention. PHOTO | NDUNG'U GACHANE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NDUNG'U GACHANE
By NDUNG'U GACHANE
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Residents of Kandundu village of Kiharu Constituency in Murang’a County have expressed concerns over bites by strange flies which then leave eggs on their skins that then hatch into larvae.

They say the flies come from the Gatogi dumpsite which is some 200 metres from their homes and that their bites leave them in painful agony.

Apart from the residents, livestock and other domestic animals are also under siege from the insects.

Mr Mwangi Kuria, a victim, said after he was bitten by the insect, he developed itches characterised by excessive pain before he developed a boil from the bite.

A few days later, his son removed nine worms (larvae) from his hands and backside.

He said when the insects were removed, the pain faded away and he slept for the first time since he was bitten.

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A PAINFUL NUISANCE

“I developed swellings on the affected areas and felt a lot of pain when the larva was being removed but the pain faded away and my health returned to normal,” Mr Kuria told the Nation on Thursday.

His wife Phyllis Waithira now keeps a broom handy to sweep away the increasing insects that now live with them.

She called on the county and national governments to relocate the dumpsite or spray the garbage to reduce the infestation of the parasites that now have them fearing an outbreak of diseases.

Ann Mwangi and her two children are also victims of the strange insects.

Her children aged three months and two years have also been bitten by the insects.

She said the bites were so painful that she could not attend to her household chores while her children cried endlessly, only calming down when the larvae were removed from their bodies.

“Several larvae have been removed from my armpit, backside and thighs while some were removed from my children’s legs and head. We fear what will happen if the flies continue biting us,” she said.

SPREADING TROUBLE

The flies have extended to the neighbouring areas of Mukuyu and Mumbi.

Although the flies are not known in the country, they manifest signs of the human bot fly which is native to central and South America.

The fly is not known to transmit disease-causing pathogens, but the larvae of  Dermatobia hominis will infest the skin of mammals and live through the larval stage in the subcutaneous layer, causing painful pustules that secrete fluids. 

Female botflies capture the mosquito, fly or tick, attach up to 50 eggs to it, and then release the insect to find a host to deposit the eggs.

The eggs then sense the body heat of the host, hatch and attempt to crawl into the feeding site of the mosquito.

CONTROL MEASURES

Murang’a County Health Executive Joseph Mbai said a team has been deployed to fumigate the dumpsite, adding that they have launched investigations.

“The cases of strange diseases have been reported to us and we have commenced investigations,” Mr Mbai told the Nation by phone.

Mr Mbai added that the only solution for such flies is the building of a landfill where solid waste will be buried.

“I urge Murang'a leaders led by Senator Irungu Kang'ata to stop opposing the construction of Gikono landfill since it’s the only solution to the disease-causing flies since we will stop open dumpsite disposal and bury the solid waste,” he said.

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