Beware! Tiger moths can spread diseases
The Tigers, one of the most colourful moths, are among the very few hairy things that are loved even though they thrive only after dark.
However, it seems their reputation might be at stake as a recent study revealed that moths can cause the spread of diseases just as flys and mosquitoes do. A report from the Kerala-based Aster MIMS Research Foundation has found that suspected cases of Chikungunya and Dengue in the state were in fact that of 'Lepidopterism,' a disease caused by Tiger Moths!
The adult moths circling the bright lights in our houses extricate scales, hairs and release deadly chemicals into the surroundings. Inhalation of these blends leads to severe forms of fever syndrome in humans, the study reveals.
Lepidopterism caused by tiger moths is a serious illness that mimics symptoms of the mosquito-borne infectious fevers.
P J Wills, Senior Scientist of the Foundation, who led the study in association with Aster Malabar Institute of Medical Science, found that Lepidopterism caused by tiger moths is a serious illness that mimics symptoms of the mosquito-borne infectious fevers.
The widespread and recurrent fever outbreaks in Kerala affected more than 23.4 million people leading to 2,250 deaths since 2006.
The primary cause of fever has been identified as 'Tiger Moth Asotacaricae,' which is known to multiply at an alarming rate in Kerala during the monsoon season from June to August, the study says.
The research conducted on fever patients, who were tested negative for Chikungunya and Dengue found positive for Tiger Moth specific 'IgE' allergens. This provides new insights to proper diagnosis and clinical treatment to fever patients and could avert clinico pathological complications and a significant number of deaths owing to symptomatic treatment.
Researchers suggest to include specific Tiger Moth IgE allergen test as a routine test along with the diagnosis of infectious fevers where Tiger Moth are found.