Unusual dermatitis in Cesar Department, Colombia

There are reports of an increasing number of people with an unusual dermatitis (skin inflammation) in the municipalities of Valledupar, Agustín Codazzi, San Diego, Manaure, among others. Skin contact with a small beetle-like insect called a Paederus that secretes a toxic substance causes an inflammatory reaction. Climate change is being blamed for a significant increase in the number of these insects.

Advice For Travellers

Paederus dermatitis is a peculiar, irritant contact dermatitis resulting from superficial skin contact with the small beetle called Paederus species. Following contact, a red, swollen, itchy rash appears, often with blisters, in the area of the contact. The redness and blistering dries after several days, but the area may remain discolored (hyperpigmented) for several months.

Travellers should avoid skin contact with this insect. Especially avoid crushing it if it lands on open skin.

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