Saturday, June 16, 2007

Paederus Dermatitis / Rove Beetle Dermatitis Pictures


The Rove beetle that is increasingly common in Malaysia. Their bodies contain the toxin paederin (hence Paederous dermatitis) that causes burns on human skin whenever they are crushed. Interestingly the beetles were used to burn off warts in the past. It starts off with some erythema/redness and then with patches of ulceration where the beetle has been crushed. These are some pictures I have collected over the past year in my practice.


The rove beetles are surprisingly small and very easy to miss. Normally they fly into your house via the windows as they are attracted to light at night. They can fly up apartment blocks and are common if you live near a hill or jungle.



Dermatitis on the nasal fold with some crusting


Linear stripes and some ulceration caused by the beetle being crushed and brushed off.


A rove beetle flew into this man's eye when he was riding a motorbike


An interesting vertical dermatits on the nose

Another patch on the arm. The dermatitis normally starts off as a redness or erythema of the skin then continues to become ulcerated.


Dermatitis on the neck is very common


Dermatitis on the underarm where the beetle was crushed


Rove beetle /Paederous dermatitis is often confused with shingles or herpes zoster as it's appearance can be similar. However the distribution is not along nerve roots.



A Y shaped kissing lesion on the neck



A Kissing Lesion occurs when the Rove beetle is crushed between a joint flexure causing identicle mirror lesions.


Kissing Lesion on the Elbow flexure




Again most probably a rove beetle crushed in the skin fold of a chubby infant. This produces a mirror image pattern of dermatitis.

More useful info from the SEBERANG PERAI MUNICIPAL COUNCIL.


Rove Beetle
Class : Insecta
Order : Coleoptera
Family : Staphylinidae
Species : Paederus fuscipes Curtis
Semut Semai, Semut Kayap, Charlie etc.
Estimated 47,000

The Rove Beetle is less than 1 cm long. The body is dark orange and the tip of the abdomen, the upper abdomen and the head are black. The upper middle iridescent greenish region of the abdomen are the hard wings (elytra). A pair of transparent wings are neatly folded and hidden under the hard wings. During daytime, the beetle will be seen crawling around swiftly with hidden wings resembling ants. When disturbed it raises the abdomen in a threatening gesture like a scorpion and can fly away. It can also run on water swiftly !











Habitat and Feeding Habit

The beetle has been observed in the paddy fields (since 1919), school fields - within the grass etc. It is carnivorous and eats smaller insects. Thus it plays an important role as a biological control of ‘paddy pests’. During heavy rains/ floods, the beetle may migrate to drier areas.



The haemolymph in the beetle’s entire body (except the wings) contains the most poisonous animal contact toxin in the world called ‘pederin’ (C24 H43 O9 N) named in 1953. It is 12 times more poisonous than cobra venom ! Dried and stored rove beetle for 8 years still retained it’s toxicity ! Contact collision with the beetle while travelling or sleeping, crushing it on the body or smearing with soiled fingers can cause conjunctivitis and severe dermatitis known as dermatitis linearis, paederus (rove beetle /staphylinidae) dermatitis, whiplash dermatitis etc. In September 2002 an epidemic of dermatitis linearis caused by rove beetles affected thousands of high rise flat dwellers and dormitory students in Penang, Malaysia.


Since the beetle is attracted to lights at night, switch off or minimise the lighting and close doors/ windows during the beetle epidemic. Use fine mosquito netting, aerosol insect spray, glue traps etc. Do not sit near lights, do not smash the beetle on the body, just blow it away ! If there is contact with the beetle, immediately wash the affected area with soap and water. Those who suffer severe skin reactions should seek medical attention.





The Seberang Perai Municipal Council (HQ in Bukit Mertajam, Penang) is the only local council in Malaysia which has provided info. on Rove Beetles to the public. Through our data of reported cases, we have determined July to October as the most active months with September showing the highest incidence each year.

Often whole apartments or housing areas near the hills or forests are filled with these insects at night. Since it is so small, often they are missed and the following day the typical erythematous rash appears. On the second day, pale ulcers appear in the center of the erythematous base where the most contact with the pederin toxin has occured. A burning sensation is present at first then becoming an itchy rash. Most of the time the shallow lesions do not leave a scar, however the deeper ulcers may form a scar if it involves the dermis.

As mentioned before, treatment is firstly the correct diagnosis and assurance that this is not herpes zoster due to it's bizarre distribution.

Secondly prevention of further lesions by checking the sleeping areas for more of these insects and closing the windows in the evening.

Thirdly a mild antiseptic wash like diluted potassium pemanganate (Kmn04) wash, followed by a mild antiseptic plus weak steroid cream is sufficient in most cases. In more serious cases as involvement of the eyes or mucous membranes, or superimposed infection, you should seek medical treatment.

Lastly it is useful to keep the lesions away from direct sunlight as it may lead to post inflammatory pigmentation ie. a dark scar.

It takes about a week for the lesions to heal.

23 Comments:

At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Doc, appreciate your sharing on this. Any cure?
... jutawan

 
At 12:36 AM, Blogger debasys said...

Hi doc, patient from India [uff uff... cough cough ;)]

After my back is having this thing at 10 places i googled for it , and thanks for all the info.

This is most scariest "12 times more poisonous than cobra venom"!!

Now i am sure i have seen this bug before near my bed. Tell me one more thing does this bug create some type of noise like crickets, in a low voice? Coz i remember some sound the night i got this crushing & infection. I thought it was my illusion.

And is there a cure for it, or some ointment to remove the scars?

 
At 9:11 PM, Blogger Jdorama said...

Ha I have seen this beetle before and I a victim to this beetle many time.

It all started when I was in collage in Bukit Minyak BM, my collage was in the middle of a palm oil estate so during the mid of July or after dry season more of this beetle will appear since I need to stay in the collage dorm this beetle easily being spotted and in one occasion I can catch up to 20 of this beetle outside of my room. Huh scary rite...

As you mention about washing away with soap after intact with the creature is the best way to reduce the infection but the problem is you did not feel the creature because it will not bite (just craw by or intact with your skin)and you only feel the pain after a few days. To avoid further scars do not scratch the infected part because it will spread!. The best thing to do is seek treatment if the infection gets more serious.

There were case where one of my friend get the infection all over the upper body after took a bath. We suspect that the beetle must somehow craw through the towel and release the poison on the towel.

From my experience just don't scratch the infected part or not it will get worse and seek for treatment if this infection gets worse.

 
At 12:21 AM, Blogger Seirra said...

Oh pls....that pesky thing is very quiet....i should know...been living with them for almost 2 years! Come to USM Engineering campus Penang and they'll be more common than ur regular house fly. Bathing with them in the same cubicle is an everyday thing.

But i find ur article quite useful especially for those ignorant of it. In my uni, they are mostly found in the bathroom. Tap, shower room everywhere in the toilet.

 
At 10:56 PM, Blogger kay said...

i have been bitten by one, and i live on the 19th floor no idea how it got here, and since it left such a huge wound..I am on anti biotic oral treatment and ointment of gentimicin..its awful.

 
At 9:23 PM, Blogger John said...

I'm a bit late- but I just wanted to share that I found this beetle in eastern Chad, no-one had warned us europeans about it, and suddenly everyone started showing nasty rashes!! It's true you don't even feel the redness or rash for days, I had a deep ulcer and rash in my armpit and I had no idea until after about 5 days when I saw it by accident. I read that scientists think there may be a bacteria also carried by the insect which can complicate transmission and the clinical course. We had more than one colleague who had a SERIOUS superinfection which necessitated evacuation.
Great to see your photos, not a lot of people know about this nasty insect.

 
At 4:10 PM, Blogger admin said...

Interesting post. I have stumbled this for my friends. Hope others find it as interesting as I did.

Cheers

 
At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just came back from Saigon, where 4 members of my family were affected and hospitalised by this nasty little bug on the Mekong Delta. Everything you've written perfectly describes our experience and symptoms. I've written about our experience and hope you don't mind, but linked to your picture of the insect.
As a co-incidence, our fellow travellers were from Geelong!
Great Blog

 
At 2:30 AM, Blogger Doc said...

Good to hear that. Not many of those Rove beetles down in Geelong!

 
At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Ali said...

Hi Doc
thanks for the info. As I shall be taking Doxycycline as a malaria prophylactic do you think that it will that accord me some protection against infection from this crafty little blighter!! Does anyone think anti-histamines will help with the itching. Anyone had any success with DEET insect repellent?? Finally is January a Rove beetle month (please say no!!) seriously only if thats true. Many thanks. Ali

 
At 4:12 PM, Blogger Abah said...

Hi Doc,

I just pass thru yr Blogspot, its very useful information that I can catch thru, as on of son as been affected by this creature. He is now doing is studying in one of Govt Medical Colledge at Alor Star Kedah.

The RX that Doctor prescribe just an ointment(Calamine Lotion). Is there any other medicine more powerful than that?

Please advise.

Regards

 
At 11:24 PM, Anonymous ironman said...

Hai Doc..very appreciate your info..need long-long time finding info for this dangerous bug!..Alhamdulilah/Thanks to Allah not thirsty again..me n wife 3 times victim of this bad bug..and now my new baby..for another victims i suggest use PROPOLIS (produced by good insect/honeybee)as a neutralizer, if you use chemical cure you need 1 week minimum to be cured..only 3 days with PROPOLIS..may Allah bless us

 
At 12:40 PM, Blogger ash said...

hey nice post doc. was very helpfull for me. the part of india which i am living always has this beetle and its effects on human. there are lot of paddy fields around and this season they produce havoc among the dwellers nearby. i am a victim of this which accounted to severe dermatitis involving various parts of my body as well as both the eyes....the skin on my face has burnt type areas....it has become black and the eye now has superimposed infection.....God`s creation has so many hiiden secrets which unravel slowly.....

 
At 2:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is the best cure? to avoid the scar... now im putting some aloe vera cream... looking at those pictures, scaring me...sometimes my sight suddenly become blur.. how about if it getting worse... is this bite poisoning?

 
At 1:41 PM, Blogger Lyn said...

fresh aloe vera juice helps and leave no mark. I was stung/burn a few times before I grab an aloe vera strip and just broke it and quickly put on the burnt area. It helps tremendously.

 
At 12:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in indonesia, i use this ointment called Cinolon-B.

cure it, and removes the mark too.
find in on any drug store.

 
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At 3:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I hope you would reply this, since I'm still puzzled with the prevention technique. will an insects repellent works? will you suggest a brand perhaps, or any other ways to prevent it rather than avoiding contact with it. I'm very concern about it. would appreciate the reply.

 
At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Jac said...

Its indeed very useful info. Its true that many people will confuse with herpes. Thanks a lot!

 
At 4:50 AM, Blogger skaliner said...

Hi Doc,

I was wondering if you knew if the paederus beetles can be found in Cameroon? I heard that there they are known as creechie bugs. Do you know if they are present in the dry season?

Also, how long do the blisters last for after a person has come in contact with pederin? Are they very painful? How severe is this?

I'm asking because I am filming a documentary about beetles in Cameroon in Feb/March of 2012 and I'm hoping to film them there.

Thank you!

Sincerely,
Steph

 

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