Black fly invasion in the eastern parts of Accra raises concerns

black fly

An urgent investigation is underway in the La Nkwantanang-Madina Municipality and Dawhenya in the Greater Accra Region following reports of a black fly invasion. The Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit of the municipal assembly is leading the effort to determine the extent of black fly breeding sites and sources, in collaboration with the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR).

The NMIMR’s entomological and epidemiological investigations confirmed the presence of black fly larvae in the Dakubi Stream, a fast-flowing water body from the Akuapem Ridge that runs into the Odaw River. While the Dakubi Stream has been identified as one breeding source, authorities believe there may be other streams and rivers contributing to the infestation, necessitating a comprehensive survey of the municipality.

Communities affected by the black fly invasion include Kponkpo, Borga Town, Teiman, Oyarifa, Abokobi, Ayi Mensah, Danfa, Peduasi, and Adenta. Concerns have also been raised in the Dawhenya Electoral Area and parts of the Laluekpo Electoral Area.

Black Fly Characteristics

Black flies, also known as buffalo gnats, are harmful insects with a size ranging from five to 15 millimeters. They have large compound eyes, short antennae, and a pair of large, fan-shaped wings. These insects bite mammals, including humans, livestock, and pests, to feed on blood. Black flies can fly up to 20 miles and are responsible for transmitting river blindness or onchocerciasis.

Black Fly
Diptera-Simuliidae-Simulium-Black Flies MALE

A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Black Flies

The disease is named river blindness because the black flies that carry the infection breed near fast-flowing streams and rivers. While black flies are commonly found in some parts of the Northern and Eastern regions of Ghana, there has been a recent upsurge in their invasion in parts of the Greater Accra Region.

To protect against black flies, individuals are advised to wear light-colored clothing and avoid sweet-smelling scents. Stay indoors during the day when the insects are active. The Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit is taking proactive measures, including applying larvicide to destroy the larvae in fast-flowing streams and rivers and clearing weeds and bushes along the affected areas.

No cases of disease transmission have been reported yet. Nonetheless, the authorities are conducting public education on precautionary measures and larviciding to prevent the further spread of black flies. The larvae of black flies can live between 15 and 30 days, making eradication challenging.

The situation remains under close observation. Residents are also are urged to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to protect themselves from potential harm. Authorities are committed to addressing the black fly invasion promptly and effectively to ensure the well-being of the community.