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      The moth Hylesia metabus and French Guiana lepidopterism: centenary of a public health concern Translated title: Hylesia metabus et papillonite guyanaise : centenaire d’une question de santé publique

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          The females of the moths Hylesia metabus have their abdomens covered by urticating hairs looking like micro-arrows and causing a puriginous dermatitis to humans known as “papillonite” in French Guiana and also called yellowtail moth dermatitis or Caripito itch. The densities of the moths show great seasonal and annual variations depending on mechanisms mostly unknown. When H. metabus infestations occur, numerous cases of dermatologic manifestations are reported from people living near the mangrove swamps where the moths are developing. One hundred years after the first “papillonite” epidemic reported from French Guiana in 1912, the data presented herein summarize the actual state of knowledge on H. metabus biology and ecology and on the lepidopterism. Some recommendations are proposed for the surveillance and warning systems of H. metabus infestations and to avoid contact with the moths. Research priorities are suggested to improve the control against this problem emerging between nuisance and public health.

          Translated abstract

          L’abdomen des femelles du papillon de nuit Hylesia metabus est recouvert de micro-fléchettes venimeuses qui déclenchent chez l’homme une dermatite urticarienne prurigineuse, dénommée “papillonite” en Guyane. Les densités de population de cette espèce sont extrêmement variables, sous la dépendance de mécanismes qui restent mal connus. Lors des pullulations, de nombreux cas de dermatites sont observés au sein des populations humaines vivant à proximité de la mangrove où se développent les chenilles et d’où émergent les papillons. Cet article dresse un état des connaissances, un siècle après la première épidémie de papillonite connue, observée en Guyane en 1912. La biologie et l’écologie du papillon sont présentées, ainsi que les aspects dermatologiques. La surveillance et l’alerte concernant les pullulations font l’objet de recommandations. Enfin, des pistes de recherche sont avancées pour améliorer les stratégies et méthodes de lutte utilisables contre ce papillon.

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          Most cited references 15

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          The evolving global epidemiology, syndromic classification, management, and prevention of caterpillar envenoming.

           JAMES H. DIAZ (2005)
          Caterpillars are the wormlike, larval forms of butterflies and moths of the insect order Lepidoptera. Next to flies, lepidopterans are the most abundant arthropods with more than 165,000 species worldwide, and with most species posing no human threats. However, caterpillar species from approximately 12 families of moths or butterflies worldwide can inflict serious human injuries ranging from urticarial dermatitis and atopic asthma to osteochondritis, consumption coagulopathy, renal failure, and intracerebral hemorrhage. Unlike bees and wasps, envenoming or stinging caterpillars do not possess stingers or modified ovipositors attached to venom glands, but instead bear highly specialized external nettling or urticating hairs and breakaway spines or setae to defend against attacks by predators and enemies. Since the 1970s, there have been increasing reports of mass dermatolgic, pulmonary, and systemic reactions following caterpillar encounters throughout the world.
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            Caterpillars and moths: Part II. Dermatologic manifestations of encounters with Lepidoptera.

             Eric Hossler (2010)
            Caterpillars and moths (order Lepidoptera) are uncommonly recognized causes of adverse cutaneous reactions, such as localized stings, papular dermatitis, and urticarial wheals. These reactions are typically mild and self-limited; however, in South America, the sting of Lonomia caterpillars can cause a potentially fatal hemorrhagic diathesis related to massive fibrinolysis. In addition, ocular inflammation and prominent arthralgias have been reported to be caused by caterpillar exposures. Therapies for mucocutaneous reactions to Lepidoptera are largely empiric, with the exception of antivenin against Lonomia obliqua envenomation. Part II of this two-part series on caterpillars and moths reviews the varied symptoms caused by Lepidopteran exposures, reviews the differential diagnosis, and discusses appropriate treatment algorithms.
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              Isolation and partial characterization of proteins with vasodegenerative and proinflammatory properties from the egg-nests of Hylesia metabus (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae).

              The Hylesia genus comprises a group of Neotropical moths ubiquitous in the Americas from Arizona to Argentina. One of the species of the Hylesia genus in Venezuela, French Guyana, and Trinidad has been identified as Hylesia metabus (Cramer 1775) (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae). In Venezuela, these moths are found in abundance in the mangrove (Avicennia spp.) swamps surrounding the Gulf of Paria and the Orinoco Delta in the eastern part of the country. During the mating season, the female adults shed copious amounts of urticating setae in the air, producing a severe papulovesicular dermatitis among the population in the affected areas. The females also use their urticating setae to protect the eggs during the hatching period. In the current study, we have isolated and partially characterized proteins with proinflammatory properties from the urticating setae in the egg-nests by using sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and anionic exchange-high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). We also have studied the biological response of the egg-nest extract and the HPLC purified fractions by inoculation in guinea pigs; and, analyzing the tissue samples by means of histopathological methods. The results of this study show that the extracted venom and HPLC purified subcomponents give rise to an intense inflammatory reaction characterized by massive infiltration of inflammatory cells, echymoses, and vascular degeneration. Chromatographic separation showed that the venom was made up of proteins having selectively vasodegenerative-fibrinolytic or proinflammatory-quimotactic properties.

                Author and article information

                Parasite : journal de la Société Française de Parasitologie
                EDP Sciences
                May 2012
                15 May 2012
                : 19
                : 2 ( publisher-idID: parasite/2012/02 )
                : 117-128
                [1 ] Centre National d’Expertise sur les Vecteurs BP 64501 34394 Montpellier Cedex 5 France
                [2 ] Institut Pasteur de Guyane BP 6010 97306 Cayenne France
                [3 ] CIRAD, Campus international de Baillarguet 34398 Montpellier Cedex France
                [4 ] Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, MIVEGEC, UMR IRD 224 – CNRS 5290 – UM1 – UM2 BP 64501 34394 Montpellier Cedex 5 France
                [5 ] EID Méditerranée 165, avenue Paul Rimbaud 34184 Montpellier Cedex 4 France
                [6 ] Institut Pasteur de la Guadeloupe, Laboratoire d’Entomologie médicale BP 484, Morne Jolivière 97183 Les Abymes Cedex France
                [7 ] IMEP UMR Université P. Cézanne CNRS IRD, Faculté des sciences de Saint-Jérôme Boîte 441 13397 Marseille Cedex 20 France
                [8 ] EHESP Avenue du Pr Léon Bernard 35043 Rennes France
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: Frédéric Jourdain. Tel. : 33 (0)4 67 41 62 49. E-mail: frederic.jourdain@ 123456ird.fr
                parasite2012192p117 10.1051/parasite/2012192117
                © PRINCEPS Editions, Paris, 2012

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 68, Pages: 12


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