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FAQs - The Dangers of Mosquitos

Have questions?

Find immediate answers to commonly asked questions, such as do black flies transmit diseases, can you get encephalitis from black flies and more.








Q:     Can Black Flies carry diseases?


A: Yes, they have been known to transmit diseases to humans and animals.  In Africa, Central America and South America, Black Flies can transmit two diseases to humans:  onchocerciasis, known as “river blindness,” and mansonellosis.  In many countries of the world, Black Flies transmit diseases to animals including bovine onchocerciasis in cattle and horses, and leucocytozoonosis in wild birds.


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Q:     Can people die from Black Fly bites?


A: If a person has a severe allergic reaction to the bite and does not get prompt medical attention, death can result.  Someone else could develop symptoms of “black fly fever” which include fever, headache, nausea and swelling of the lymph nodes.


In regions where onchocerciasis is found, Black Fly bite victims may develop blindness, though it rarely leads to death.  In areas where mansonellosis is found, victims may not show any symptoms or in more severe cases, they may have stomach pain, joint pain, headaches, inflammation in the lungs, and swelling of the skin and lymph nodes.  Death does not usually occur with either onchocerciasis or mansonellosis.


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Q:     Can you get encephalitis from Black Fly bites?


A: There is a possibility that they could also transmit encephalitis, but this has not been confirmed to date.


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Q:     Is there a cure for River Blindness?


A: Ivermectin is used to treat onchocerciasis, or River Blindness.  It is important that people infected with the parasite have ready access to this medicine or blindness may result.


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