Why we iron our underwear?

T + 15

In Tanzania everything that is washed has to be ironed? Everything. There is avert simple reason for it and it is something called the Mango Fly.

There are two “pets” on the compound Macy the guard dog – an Alsatian cross and Pushkin a cat – a rescued stray.

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Both sleep outside as is common with pets in this country, both sit on the ground and this makes them vulnerable to attack by the Mango Fly. Both have been infected by the larvae of Mango flies – yuk!

This delightful creature lays it’s eggs on the ground or on damp cloth the maggots which hatch then crawl across the ground or the cloth until they come in contact with a patch of skin into which they bury themselves to feed.

Yesterday folk on the compound removed four enormous larvae from the belly of Pushkin, a large number have also been found on Macy.

Gross bit coming up – you have been warned!

The only way to removed them is to spread Vaseline over the end of the maggot embedded in the skin thus suffocating the maggot which wriggles and comes to the surface. It is then a matter of squeezing for all your worth as you might a boil or spot (I told it was gross!).

What comes out is white and about 2cm long and 0.5cm thick. Amazingly Pushkin the cat was remarkably calm as they were removed and apart from some plaintive meows seemed calm as three adult held him down. I understand Macy was a little less cooperative but still quite trusting.

The holes left needed to be treated but are closing up nicely.

Of course hanging out washing to dry can potentially lead to the eggs being laid on the cloth (even though it is worse if the clothes are dried on the ground). These then hatch on the body when clothes are worn – with obvious consequences. Luckily they can be destroyed by heat and so that is why we get our underwear and all other items of clothing, bedding etc ironed.

Of course some clothes can’t be ironed and so have to be dried inside!

If your desperate to find out more just google “mango fly” – there are plenty of gruesome videos.

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