Kinshasa residents urged to be vigilant in the face of the proliferation of the pest « Ekonda »


Kinshasa, May 29th, 2021 (CPA).- The dermatology specialist Elysée Mpeti, during an interview with the CPA on Friday, urged the inhabitants of Kinshasa to be vigilant in the face of the proliferation of a harmful insect commonly called « Ekonda « which causes a dermatological infection characterized by burns to the skin. Dr Élysée Mpeti has informed that this insect, of its scientific name « paederus », distils a very irritating and blistering substance called « cantharin » which causes itching and vesicular lesions similar to burns. When the insect is then crushed on the skin, explains this doctor, it releases a chemical called « pederine », which can cause lesions. Speaking of the mode of contamination, Dr Mpeti pointed out that more often than not the victim crushes this insect on his skin without realizing the consequences, and she ends up later discovering the spots of the lesions in certain parts of his body. To avoid contact with the pederine of this insect, dermatologist Elysée Mpeti invites residents of Kinshasa to be vigilant.

Also, she recommends that the population wash their hands and skin with soap and water, once in contact with such a beetle, to avoid generally settling at night directly under it light or under the tree, and finally to blow powerfully on the insect to free it from the surface of the skin instead of squashing it. The contact of pederine with the skin does not immediately translate into a visible sign, she added. It takes 12 to 36 hours for a red rash called erythema to appear and develop into blisters. The lesions, with scab formation, can last two to three weeks.

The paederus is a variety of seasonal beetle, elongated in shape and small in size (often <10 mm), with a vivid orange-red abdomen and thorax. Recall that the presence of the paederus, commonly known as « Ekonda », announces the start of the dry season in the DRC which generally begins around May 15 and ends around the end of August. This season is marked in the city-province of Kinshasa by temperatures below 30 degrees, dust, a kind of flu epidemic affecting children and adults. ACP/Fng/nig