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LEPIDOPTERISM DUE TO EXPOSURE TO THE MOTH HYLESIA METABUS IN NORTHEASTERN VENEZUELA

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  • 1 Direction of Environmental Sanitary Epidemiological Surveillance, General Direction of Environmental Health and Sanitary Control, Ministry of Health and Social Development, Maracay, Venezuela; Environmental Health and Malariology Sucre State Office, Carúpano, Sucre, Venezuela; Epidemiology Department, Cajigal Sanitary District, Yaguaraparo, Sucre, Venezuela; Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Lepidopterism refers to a spectrum of medical conditions in humans that usually involves the skin and results from contact with the adult or larval forms of certain butterflies and moths. We analyzed the epidemiologic and clinical features associated with exposure to the moth Hylesia metabus between 1970 and 2002 in the Cajigal district, Sucre, Venezuela. Fifty cases of lepidopterism mostly affecting individuals under 18 years of age were identified during this period and manifested as pruritic dermatitis with or without associated respiratory symptoms. With increased travel to endemic areas of lepidopterism, travel and tropical medicine practitioners should be aware of the clinical spectrum of this condition.

Author Notes

Reprint requests: Carlos Franco-Paredes, M.D., M.P.H., Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University School of Medicine, 69 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive, Atlanta, GA 30303, Telephone: 404-686-5885, Fax: 404-686-4508, E-mail: cfranco@sph.emory.edu.
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