HE WASN’T assaulted, and he didn’t suffer a nasty allergic reaction.
Instead, what happened to this man has happened to most travellers, on multiple occasions. He was bitten by a pesky mosquito.
Unfortunately, Mr Zhang’s face began to swell “like a sausage” and oozed pus. Soon, he couldn’t even open his eyes.
The man’s nightmare continued as he was sent from hospital to hospital because nobody could figure out what was wrong with him.
Eventually, a hospital in the city of Luoyang in central China’s Henan Province diagnosed him with scleroderma, a disease characterised with the swelling and hardening of subcutaneous fat.
“The patient’s symptoms are very rarely seen,” his doctor Dai Tao, head of plastic surgery at the hospital, said. “Besides his face, he had no swelling anywhere else.”
Mr Dai said that in extreme cases, mosquitoes can cause this type of swelling if the patient is bitten on a lymph node, which can be found in several places on the neck and face.
It turns out that all he needed was an ice pack, and he’s now on the mend.
Mr Zhang’s not the only one to have been ravaged by a mosquito, with Reddit user npea777 posting this image, saying “my buddy forgot bug spray last night”.
Mosquitoes pose a huge risk to travellers
Mosquitoes are responsible for the deaths ofhundreds of thousands of people each year, even prompting Bill Gates to set up “Mosquito aweness week” last year.
In most places the worst a mosquito will do to you is leave you with an itchy bite for a couple of days. However, in some regions mosquitoes act as a vector agent carrying disease-causing viruses and parasites from person to person without being affected themselves.
“A single mosquito bite can lead to serious illness or even death for people in areas where these diseases circulate,” the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization Director Carissa Etienne warns.
Malaria is the main killer and occurs mainly in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
However mosquitoes can even be deadly in Australia, with dengue fever outbreaks recorded in tropical areas such as Cairns and Townsville. And it’s not only tropical areas affected, with mosquitoes carrying Ross River virus affecting people around the country.
Chikengunya is also making headlines recently, with the relatively new strain of mosquito-borne disease causing much concern after sweeping through India, South-East Asia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, posing a great threat to Australia. Lindsay Lohan was hospitalised contracted chikungunya while holidaying in Bora Bora earlier this year and reportedly became so ill she couldn’t walk.
To protect yourself from mosquitos, the Government’s SmartTraveller website advises: “There are a number of mosquito-borne diseases that affect travellers visiting warm climates (including malaria, dengue fever, chikengunya and Japanese encephalitis). Consider taking prophylaxis against malaria.
“Take measures to avoid insect bites, including using an insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.”