POOR HYGIENE BLAMED

Mango flies infestation worry Thika villagers

Maggots under people's skin cause painful boils

In Summary

• The mango flies have invaded Maguguni and Gatuanyaga villages and affected over 20 people.

• Dr Jesse Ngugi said the problem had been brought about by poor hygiene and urged residents to ensure that their bedding are properly cleaned and air-dried

Muguga village resident Grace Wamathai points to the spot where her daughter had developed a boil on Wednesday
MANGO FLY: Muguga village resident Grace Wamathai points to the spot where her daughter had developed a boil on Wednesday
Image: JOHN KAMAU

Grace Wamathai’s nephew developed a painful boil on his back two weeks ago and when it was popped open, a maggot crawled out.

“It (the maggot) was still crawling. The doctor told us that it was an infestation of the mango fly or tumbu fly. This shocked us,” Wamathai said.

She had taken her nephew to Thika Level V Hospital where the doctor told her it was a mango fly maggot.

Wamathai’s daughter also developed a similar boil on her back.

Wamathai said she later developed six boils on her belly and pressed them after three days. “The boils were red and solid and had a black dot on top that seemed like an opening. I pressed six maggots out. Later, I developed eight more and I’ve already pressed them,” she said.

This is what more than 2o Maguguni and Gatuanyaga residents in Thika are going through.

The mango flies have invaded the two villages and residents are now suffering  from painful boils.

The affected residents told journalists on Wednesday that they started developing painful boils on their skin two weeks ago. Each boil contains a maggot.

“It’s an awful feeling to have maggots wriggling under your skin and the pain that follows when pressing them is unbearable,” Wamathai said.

She said the scars left have been itchy, leading to sleepless nights.

Wamathai said they have learnt that female mango flies lay eggs on clothes being air-dried outside. They now suspect that the flies laid their eggs when they hung their clothes outside to dry.

“We highly suspect that the flies laid the eggs on our clothes while drying on the clothing lines and that’s how they found their way under our skins,” she said.

Another resident, Miriam Wambui, has developed a boil on her stomach, and she is yet to press it. She said she is waiting for the boil to harden so that she can press the maggot out.

Thika Level V Hospital medical superintendent Dr Jesse Ngugi told the Star on the phone that the problem had been brought about by poor hygiene and urged residents to ensure that their bedding are properly cleaned and air-dried.

“It’s a matter of hygiene because the flies lay the eggs on the bedding, especially the mattresses. After the egg hatches into larvae it finds a host and burrows under the skin. Residents should ensure they observe hygiene and ensure that they sleep on bedsheets instead of bare mattresses,” Ngugi said.

Ngugi said the flies can also be controlled by spraying them with insecticides.

Residents have urged the county government through the public health team to intervene and spray the villages to get rid of the flies.

“I don’t want my children to feel the pain I’m feeling. We really need help,” Wambui said.