Insects of the order Diptera are characterized by one pair of wings. The second pair is usually modified to form a pair of drumsticklike structures known as halteres. A typical life cycle consists of eggs, limbless larvae, pupae, and winged adults, but numerous variations exist. Mouthparts are of the sucking type. Females of many species, although free living, take blood or other tissue fluids from vertebrates, injecting salivary secretions that are not intrinsically toxic but are potent sensitizing agents for most humans. Larvae of some Diptera are human parasites. Other adult Diptera feed indiscriminately on feces and human foodstuffs. These habits make them by far the most important arthropod vectors of human disease.
[...] Removal of the larvae by surgery or expression is the usual treatment for migratory myiasis, although local freezing of cutaneous burrows is sometimes successful. Ivermictin given to a patient with Hypoderma myiasis resulted in expulsion of the larva. The most effective prevention is control of the infections in domestic animals. Wound Myiasis. Opportunistic invasion of wounds by fly larvae is often seen during war and natural disasters, when injured persons are exposed to flies and medical facilities are inadequate to cope with the emergency. [...]
[...] Netting over the crib or pram when outdoors usually affords protection. Migratory Myiasis. One type of migratory myiasis is caused by flies of the genus Hypoderma. Adult flies are large and hairy, resembling bumblebees. Normal hosts for the parasitic larvae are cattle, deer, and horses. The flies attach their eggs to hairs. Hatchling larvae penetrate the skin and wander extensively through the subcutaneous tissues, eventually locating under the skin of the back, where they produce furuncular lesions. The condition has veterinary importance. [...]
[...] Louse flies (Hippoboscidae) are peculiar Diptera that may lack wings entirely or have them for only part of their adult life. The wingless forms are flat, leathery insects that resemble lice or ticks. They are ectoparasites of birds and mammals. Larvae are carried in the uterus until development is almost complete; the pupal stage may be spent in the soil or on the host. The sheep ked (Melophagus ovinus) is a common species in the United States and sometimes bites sheep shearers and handlers. [...]
[...] The flies bite most intensely in still air and reduced light. Bites are immediately painful and result in raised, red, and pruritic lesions that persist from a few hours to a week or more. Some victims develop vesicles, pustules, and superficial ulcers, particularly if bitten by the genus Leptoconops. Hypersensitivity is involved, although some persons seem to develop intense reactions on first exposure to the insects. Treatment of bites is symptomatic and similar to that for mosquito bites. Artificial hyposensitization has not been successful; however, spontaneous decrease in skin reactivity may occur in some individuals. [...]
[...] Delayed hypersensitivity is lost more readily than immediate hypersensitivity; with decreases in both IgE and IgG. Biting Midges (Culicoides) Biting midges are very small flies that have a bite out of proportion to their size. Only females feed on blood. The wormlike aquatic larvae usually develop in water-saturated soil; mangrove swamps are a common habitat. Larvae of some species use axils of banana and similar plants. The genus is cosmopolitan but presents the greatest problem in subtropical and tropical coastal regions. Activity is often seasonal. [...]
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