Blister beetle releases a protective chemical called cantharidin that can cause painful blisters and lesions when they are crushed on the skin
Blister beetle dermatitis is reported in the areas of Ramitey and Sorchen in Phuentsholing with many people, from children to adults, developing blisters on the face and other parts of the body.
School-going children are found with wounds and rashes on their skin, while there are also reports of adults being affected. The nurses from the Phuentsholing Hospital had visited schools to monitor the affected cases, according to informal information sources.
However, clinicians of the Phuentsholing Hospital are familiar with such infections during the rainy season. Such cases have also been previously reported in the area.
The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the Phuentsholing Hospital, Thinley Pelzang said, “The reported cases of blister beetle dermatitis in the area is not an outbreak of public health concern, but it is sporadic. It is self-limiting.”
The CMO said that it is a sporadic case affecting children to adults every year.
Meanwhile, blister beetle dermatitis is an irritant contact caused by a beetle of the genus Paederus crushed on skin releasing the vesicant pederin. There will be redness, itching, and blister on the contact site.
Speaking to Business Bhutan, the medical specialist of the Phuentsholing General Hospital, Dr. Romena Hassan said that usually blister beetle dermatitis is caused during the summer due to increased temperature and humidity.
She said it can be prevented by reducing contact with the skin, wearing full-sleeved clothes and trousers, and keeping household windows closed especially at night.
The bug is so tiny to be seen by naked eyes, according to the medical specialist.
There is no data on the cases reported of blister beetle dermatitis as it is not a public health concern, according to the hospital official.
The hospital has started treatment for symptomatic patients, while the public is given prevention advice.
Sangay Rabten from Thimphu