Travel Medicine / Vaccination / Immunization Expert Forum
Non-itchy bites from Belize
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Questions in the Travel Medicine forum are answered by Dr. Philip D Parks, affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health. Topics covered include disease prevention, finding a doctor abroad, food and water safety, illness and injury abroad, mosquito and tick protection, resources for travelers, traveling with children or pets, traveling with special needs, vaccinations and immunizations.

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Non-itchy bites from Belize

I recently spent about a week in Belize.  Our first stop was 3 days in the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve.  While there, I developed about 2 dozen bites on my arms, hands, lower legs, and feet. They mostly didn't itch, or itched periodically and lightly. They are quite small -- perhaps a quarter the size of a pencil erasure; red and slightly raised, and appeared about the second day we were there. The lodge was on a rocky river (very little sand/mud), and the weather was damp/rainy and chilly for the area (low 60s F at night).  Some bites have a tiny (pin-head size) red dot in the center, but not all. My boyfriend got a few, but not as many. We hiked and biked on dirt/mud roads in light rain and some sunshine.  Two bites that I scratched became fluid-filled with a clear fluid like what might be in a blister.  It seemed like we got more bites as our stay continued, but never very many, always on the limbs (plus one on my collarbone), and we did not get any more bites once we descended to the beach. It's now been 3 weeks and they are still lightly present -- not itchy, but still visible, some still with the tiny red dot in the center, some with a tiny scab where the dot was due to a little scratching. They are not bites from mosquitoes, bed bugs, ticks, fleas, spider, or sand flies. I've had sand fly bites before and they were nothing like this -- they itched severely and looked different.  They're clearing up on their own so I'm not worried, just very, very, very curious. Help??
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,

Well, I would very much like to see a photo of the bites that you have described in your posting. However, in the absence of a photo, here are some questions for you:

1. Do you recall getting bit by these elusive insects?
2. How would you describe the appearance of bites now?
3. If the bites are healed, for how many days were the bites visible?

You've named the most likely suspects in your posting.

The local equivalent of a sand flea is a possibility if you recall getting bitten.

~•~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical or legal advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
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