Siliguri, June 26: Live “dung” beetles today emerged out of a perforation in the lower part of the body of a two-and-half-year-old boy in a rare condition known to be occurring in tropical countries.
Experts termed the disease a rare case of “scarabiasis or canthariasis”, prevalent among children between two and five years.
Sources said the boy, a resident of Hakimpara, was being treated by paediatrician S.B. Mantry for lack of appetite, abdominal cramps and weakness.
Last week, the boy’s parents had showed Mantry a black insect which, according to them, had come out while he was defecating. They told the doctor such insects had buzzed out earlier, only this time they caught it before it could take wings.
Mantry was reportedly taken aback when he was shown the beetle-like insect, which had bright yellow stripes on its black body. The doctor advised the boy’s parents to have the specimen examined by Supada Mallick, a local pathologist.
A surprised Mallick referred the case to another pathologist, S.K. Roy, last Saturday. Roy described the disease as scarabiasis, better known as the “beetle disease.” He confirmed that the insect that had come out of the child’s body was a beetle.
“Medical parasitology terms this disease as scarabiasis or canthariasis, where beetles infest the digestive tract,” Roy said.
A woman died and six villagers fell ill at Sukhbazar village of Birbhum after eating a cow, which reportedly died of anthrax.
Sundar Mardi, 40, and Talamaku Mardi, 16, who had developed swellings and boils on their limbs, have been rushed to the Infectious Diseases hospital in Calcutta. Doctors said their condition was stable.
Doctors from the School of Tropical Medicine examined the sick villagers at Sukhbazar today and concluded their symptoms were akin to anthrax.