Human myiasis in rural South Africa is under-reported
Background. Myiasis is the infestation of live tissue of humans and other vertebrates by larvae of flies. Worldwide, myiasis of humans is seldom reported, although the trend is gradually changing in some countries. Reports of human myiasis in Africa are few. Several cases of myiasis were recently seen at the Mthatha Hospital Complex, Mthatha, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa (SA).
Objective. Because of a paucity of literature on myiasis from this region, surgeons and scientists from Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, decided to document myiasis cases presenting either at Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital or Umtata General Hospital from May 2009 to April 2013. The objective was to determine the incidence, epidemiology, patient age group and gender, and fly species involved. The effect of season on incidence was also investigated.
Results. Twenty-five cases (14 men and 11 women) were recorded in the 4-year study period. The fly species involved were Lucilia sericata, L. cuprina, Chrysomya megacephala, C. chloropyga and Sarcophaga (Liosarcophaga) nodosa, the latter being confirmed as an agent for human myiasis for the first time. The patients were 3 - 78 years old (median 56). Cases were most numerous during spring and summer, and were associated with underlying pathologies typical of ageing.
Conclusion. Myiasis is a more common medical condition than expected in the Mthatha region. The study shows that human myiasis is still frequently encountered in SA, and there is a need to understand its epidemiology better.
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