Paederus Fuscipes Dermatitis

An Epidemic on Okinawa

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  • Medical Service Corps, U. S. Army Medical Center, Ryukyu Islands

A major outbreak of vesicular dermatitis occurred on Okinawa during the summer (June to September) of 1966. About 2,000 patients sought treatment at military medical facilities. Probably an equal number of persons were so mildly affected that they did not seek medical attention. Originally the outbreak was thought to be the result of contact with blister beetles of the family Meloidae. It was later proved that the dermatitis was caused by contact with the beetle Paederus fuscipes Curtis (Kinki, 1955) or with a closely related species of the family Staphylinidae (Rove Beetle). The initial misconception was due to unfamiliarity with the effects of contact with Paederus beetles as compared with the well-known condition caused by contact with blister beetles.

Author Notes

Present address: The Dow Chemical Company, Agriculture Products Division, Midland, Michigan 48640.

Present address: University of Missouri Medical Center, Columbia, Missouri 65201.