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HEALTH; Moth allergy cases up 27%


Gorgas researchers Ingrid Murgas and José Antonio Suárez gave details about the moth of the genus 'Hylesia'. 

Posted 27/09/2019

Reports of allergic reactions caused by contact with the "modified hairs" of the Hylesia moth have increased by 27% with 122 cases are attributed to the  moth so far in 2019, while 96 were reported during 2018.

There are still two months left in the moth’s reproductive season so the number of cases is expected to rise and citizens are warned not to touch the moths even when they are dead 

Ingrid Murgas The principal investigator of a project on poisonous and allergy-causing arthropods in Panama of the Gorgas Memorial Institute of Health Studies, told La Prensa that there are nine species of the Hylesia moth in the country, and they have their reproduction period between September and November.

Researchers Ingrid Murgas, Roberto Miranda and José Antonio Suárez, of the Gorgas Institute for Health Studies (Icges), who participate in a project on poisonous and allergy-causing arthropods in Panama, explained that the allergic reaction is caused by mushrooms ( modified hairs) of a moth of the genus Hylesia, of which there are nine species identified in Panama.

Miranda said that The , "modified hairs" have substances that cause hives at the time of coming into contact with the skin, which occurs when moths approach the light and begin a flutter process and the mushrooms are released (modified hairs ), which accumulate in the environment or on people, causing skin rashes.

The Icges researcher, José Antonio Suárez, a tropical medicine consultant, said that the allergy manifests itself with rashes on the face, neck and arms, the most exposed areas of the body.

Suarez said the allergy is very itchy, between 15 and 20 minutes, after contact with the modified hairs.

The head of Epidemiology of the health ministry (Minsa) , Lourdes Moreno, said that reports of allergy outbreaks extended from the province of Panama to the towns of Arraiján-Cabecera and Burunga, in the province of Panama Oeste; and Mocambo, Panama Norte, and Merca Panamá, in the province of Panama.

She said that the effects can be more severe when for a person with identified allergic conditions, and the effects can last up to six days. so she urged everyone who comes into contact with the modified hairs of the moths to go to health facilities.



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