Spain holiday warning as Brits told to watch out for black flies that SAW into skin – and could need hospital treatment

BRITS heading to Spain on holidays are being warned to watch out for biting black flies which can saw into the skin and leave people in hospital.

Health experts say the numbers of the insects are soaring – and are “very close to becoming a major public health problem in Spain“.

Black Fly sucking blood from a human on the skin


Black Fly sucking blood from a human on the skinCredit: Alamy

The flies, which cause their victims to swell for up to a month, have been found in Andalusia, Aragon, Catalonia, Madrid, Murcia and Valencia.

And now The National Association of Environmental Health Companies have warned that if the numbers are not curbed it could cause huge problems.

Its general director, Jorge Galván said: “The virulence of the black fly bite is much greater than that of other insects.

“The fundamental problem is that it does not sting but bites in the form of a saw, generating a significant wound and can lead to very alarming infections and allergic reactions, which in some cases require hospitalisation.

“The black fly bites, causing a small tear in the skin of its victim. It begins by inoculating a small dose of anaesthetic, which allows it to bite without the affected individual realising it.”

The fly can transmit serious diseases such as onchocerciasis which can cause blindness.

According to the World Health Organisation, roughly 270,000 people around the world have been blinded by the disease.

Galván continued: “Their saliva is what usually causes severe allergy symptoms and severe pain in the area. 

“The final effect translates into a welt of several centimetres that usually even bleeds, accompanied by a high swelling that can last up to a month.”

ANECPLA is warning anyone who is bitten must not scratch it, as it can worsen the wound and become infected.

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It is recommended to treat the bite with ice to reduce the swelling and an ointment with a mild corticosteroid.

If symptoms worsen ANECPLA advises to head straight to a hospital for treatment.


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