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Heatwave horsefly risk warning

Friday July 13th, 2018

High levels of horseflies amid the human population could test the limits of antibiotics, campaigners warn today.

The extended UK heatwave has seen the population of the insect reach Mediterranean levels, putting at risk many people unused to dealing with their bites, according to Antibiotic Research UK.

The creature’s bite causes an itchy lump – which can lead to scratching and infection.

Victims are advised to use antihistamine and steroid creams – but could need broad-spectrum antibiotics in the event of infection.

Charity chief executive Professor Colin Garner warned: “It is entirely possible in 2018 that you can die of an insect bite, not just in some hot foreign clime, but here in Britain.

“We have not invested in the kinds of antibiotics we need to keep up with devious and ever-changing bacterial infections. Now we are in real danger that we could return to a pre-antibiotic past, where dirty wounds, bites and conditions like TB and Typhoid might kill.”

He added: “We have been warning for some time that our antibiotics are so ineffective that we could reach the situation where people will once again die from an infected scratch or bite. That tragic moment may just have come.

“I personally got bitten recently by a horsefly and it is very painful.”

British MPs are pressing for information about the impact of the heatwave on the nation’s health.

The House of Commons environmental audit committee today posed a series of questions to ministers, seeking information about mortality rates and hospital admissions.

Tags: General Health | MRSA & Hygiene | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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