Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Tsetse Fly

So, I researched, talked to my friend, and found a description of the Tsetse Fly (possibly the fly that I must iron my clothes to protect against). By the information, it looks like rather than the fly itself burrowing into people's clothes and skin, the fly incubates an egg inside her stomach and then transmits the egg into the "soil" or into a human or an animal's skin. The saliva/egg then transmitts the diseases it carries. Kinda scary.

If this is the case I most definitely will be ironing!!

Africa - Tsetse Flies  (
There are 22 different species of tsetse fly, and they live only in Africa. These flies are slightly larger than a horsefly. They breed along rivers and streams. They are active during the day and feed exclusively on blood. Unlike most biting flies where only the female feeds on blood, both male and female tsetse flies are blood suckers.
Tsetse flies are an enormous health risk in parts of Africa. They can transmit a disease called trypanosomiasis, an infection of the central nervous system. There are 2 forms of trypanosomiasis: Rodesian (sometimes called East African trypanosomiasis) and Gambian (sometimes called West African trypanosomiasis). Rhodesian trypanosomiasis, also known as nagana, is transmitted from animal to animal and mostly affects cattle, horses, and wild animals like antelope--although humans can also be infected. The Gambian form is much more prevalent and only affects humans. It is commonly called sleeping sickness.
Tsetse flies transmit nagana and sleeping sickness through their saliva. They first bite an animal or person that is already infected with a tiny microorganism called a trypanosome. This parasite lives inside the tsetse fly's stomach for several days and then travels to its salivary glands. After that, anyone or anything bitten by the fly becomes infected.
Tsetse flies are hard to control, and tsetse fly infestation is becoming more and more serious in Africa. The clearing of large forest tracks sometimes causes the fly to spread to more populated areas. The political unrest in many parts of Africa hampers pesticide control of this pest, as well.
Tsetse flies produce their young in a different manner than most flies. The female lays a single egg but keeps it inside her. It hatches into a maggot inside her body. It grows larger and larger as the female feeds on the blood of mammals. When the maggot fills its mother's abdomen, she releases it into the soil. It burrows and pupates immediately.

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