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sonicdeb Jun 7th, 2010 11:46 PM

Tsetse fly bites?
I am just back from a safari in Tanzania. It was wonderful, except for the Kirawira area was totally infested with tse tse flies. They were so bad we could not even look for game the last day we were there, due to the swarms that were neverending, regardless of where we were in the area. The most unfortunate thing is that they seemed to LOVE me (I did not wear blue, but the seats in the truck and my shirt were a dark green) and I got bitten severely and often. I am home for 5 days and still covered with the red bites (they no longer itch but are tender to the touch). How worried should I be about African Sleeping Sickness? I know the only way to diagnosis is with blood tests and other lab tests. Thanks for any info that you can share.

wildebeestus Jun 8th, 2010 04:32 AM

Sonicdeb, I feel your pain!! I had tsetse bites that bothered, swelled, were sore, even made my arms lose strength (am severely allergic to all bug bites). Upon marvelous advice and support from this board, I did go to the doctor to have it checked out. Couldn't find a doctor who seemed to know, until I eventually stumbled upon the Infectious Disease Center here. Once there, all they could do was run a test (fine with me, I just wanted to know). The tests were negative for the sleeping sickness, yay. After all that, the bites eventually calmed down and went away. Just a strong reaction to the little varmints. Am not a doc, only a traveler with a similar experience, so take these words at just that.

sonicdeb Jun 8th, 2010 05:09 AM

Thanks for letting me know about your experience. I will wait a few more days and then see how it goes. I work in a medical clinic, but they are not experienced about tse tse's and I could not find any info on how long the bites were sore and if this is normal for anyone. I am not highly allergic to anything, not even mosquitos, but these little #*%! are nasty!
Thanks again for your info;)

Kavey Jun 8th, 2010 09:17 AM

My tse tse bites were sore for a few days after, and they loved me too, during a trip to Tanzania a couple of years ago.

It is my understanding that the sleeping sickness is restricted to certain areas, and I'd got it into my head that the tourist areas we visit in Kenya and Tanzania are free of it, but I may be wrong. Someone else may be able to comment.

sonicdeb Jun 8th, 2010 11:09 AM

I thought that also until I read the CDC website, which listed Tanzania. It did say that a few tourist get it, so it sort of heighten my anxiety. Usually I am not a worry wart, but I didn't think the bites would be so severe as they are.

spassvogel Jun 8th, 2010 01:39 PM

We were troubled in Feb in Grumeti. And still my marks are visible - the bites I got 1 1/2 years ago in Zambia.

Some info:

If you feel better when you let your blood check - do so!

SV ((@))

sonicdeb Jun 8th, 2010 09:36 PM

Thanks for all the info. I guess I will have a "reminder" of Africa for quite some time. Some people have places tattooed on their hearts, apparently mine are on my ankles;). Thanks again. They are already looking and feeling better.

Femi Jun 9th, 2010 04:13 AM

I was at Kirawira the same time of year a while back. Those flies can be vicious! Anyways, no one suffered any lingering after effects once the inflammation of the actual bite sites died down.

sonicdeb Jun 9th, 2010 04:36 AM

Good to know, Femi! Thanks to all for sharing your "bite" stories. It makes me worry less.

tinydancer Jun 9th, 2010 06:11 AM

Doesn't sound like a good experience at all. We are going to treat our clothing with Equip DeBugger (permethrin), and I've got Bushman products which have high concentrations of 80% DEET.
The gel is supposed to be good up to 15 hours. Got the spray too. Plus instructions how to use it all. I hope this will help us on our trip. I also have purchased a little gadget that is supposed to settle the sting of any insect bites. Hope that helps too in case the other things aren't quite enough to discourage the little rascals.

tinydancer Jun 9th, 2010 06:13 AM

PS: also got a little gadget that is about as big as a car alarm clicker that is supposed to repell mosquitos up to 3 meters. Battery run and has 3 settings up to 12 hours. Not sure if it will be any good on tse tse flies though. But, you never can tell.

Kavey Jun 9th, 2010 06:46 AM

Sadly, I didn't find that DEET deterred the little buggers.

sundowner Jun 9th, 2010 07:58 AM

I had some nasty bites, too. Took a couple of weeks to heal and months for the scars to go away.

If you will be in tsetse territory, don't wear sandals. (I speak from experience.)

Deet doesn't affect tsetse flies. I've heard that permethrin works somewhat.

Be careful with Deet because it will ruin rubber and plastic (cameras). And nail polish. And some scientific studies show it is harmful to humans.

walrus Jun 9th, 2010 12:10 PM

I was there 3 weeks ago and a

pumpkin123 Jun 9th, 2010 12:21 PM

Great, you all have me thinking I'm going to have to add Beekeepers suit to my packing list!

walrus Jun 9th, 2010 12:21 PM

Sorry, Sonicdeb,I pushed on the wrong button.

I was in the same area 3 weeks ago and also suffered from flies. I do not know if this will set your mind at rest, but though tse tse flies are present, in a lot cases you were bitten by horseflies who are very similar to tse tse flies.

walrus Jun 9th, 2010 12:28 PM

Sorry, Sonicdeb I pushed on the wrong button.

I was in the same area 3 weeks ago and also suffered from flies. I do not know if this will set your mind at rest, but, though tse tse flies were present, you were probably bitten, in a lot of cases, by horseflies.

long2travel Jun 9th, 2010 02:19 PM

So, what is considered tsetse territory? I somehow got the impression that they were worse in Tanzania than Kenya but I'm not sure if this is true. Anyone have any idea?

Patty Jun 9th, 2010 03:00 PM

I haven't encountered many tse tses in Kenya, a few in parts of Meru and Tsavo.

Patty Jun 9th, 2010 03:04 PM

And they tend to be in woodland areas.

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