Around 7pm this past Tuesday I was walking back from the beach along the wooden-slated path, near some bushes. I felt a sharp bite on my toe and a dime-sized brown furry-looking insect was there. I then had about 15 minutes of intense pain, much worse than a bee sting.
Over the past two days, my foot and ankle have swollen two to three times their normal size, and I have intense itching and redness—and even some low-grade fever and body aches.
I checked with my colleagues at Poison Control at UM/Jackson, and they agree that it was a “pus caterpillar.” The venomous microfilaments on the “fur” of the caterpillar stick into skin and can cause a severe reaction. (See more on the website below.) There is no specific treatment, other than trying to get the filaments out with Scotch or duct tape.
This information might be worth sharing with our community. We don’t want a small child to try to touch one!
Jeffrey P. Brosco MD