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Sandfly fever: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About sandfly fever

Sandfly is a blood-sucking insect small enough to get through the tiny holes of a standard mosquito net. Sandfly fever is an acute, mild, viral infection occurring mainly in warm weather.

Sandfly fever: Incidence, age and sex

Sandfly fever is a poorly understood disease. It is more often detected in certain regions of Middle East. It may affect individuals at any age.

Signs and symptoms of sandfly fever: Diagnosis

The clinical signs and symptoms may develop within 6 days of the infected bite. Symptoms include headache, high temperature, conjunctival infection (red eyes), fatigue, and nausea. The patient may also complain of pain in the back and other limbs. The symptoms are self limiting, and complete recovery may be preceded by prolonged depression in a small percentage of cases.

Individuals who have cutaneous sandfly fever may exhibit some sores/lesions on their skin. The sores may be painless or painful. The diagnosis can be established by certain blood tests.

Causes and prevention of sandfly fever

Sandfly fever is a viral infection and the virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected sand fly. These flies usually bite in the night hours.

To prevent sandfly from biting, use of an effective repellent helps. Bed nets should be impregnated with an insecticide such as permethrin so that tiny flies die and do not get to enter the mesh. Travellers to very high risk areas may consider treating their clothes with permethrin insecticide. There is no vaccine for sandfly fever prevention.

Sandfly fever: Complications

Some viral strains may occasionally result in brain infection called encephalitis after the initial feverish phase. Otherwise, the infection usually resolves fully in 3 to 4 days.

Sandfly fever: Treatment

Since it is a self-limiting condition, generally no treatment is required. Medications like antipyretics for high-temperature and analgesics for pain may help in managing the symptoms. Corticosteroids like hydrocortisone cream 1% can be used to treat both itching and the skin redness associated with sandfly fever.