30 Apr '18, 6pm

Toxic caterpillars invade London

Toxic caterpillars invade London

An army of caterpillars is storming London and beyond, leaving a toxic trail in its wake. The caterpillars, technically the larvae of oak processionary moths (OPM), are causing a rash of violent illnesses in London and the country’s southeastern region that include asthma attacks, vomiting and fevers. The outbreak is so intense that health officials have issued a stern warning: Beware the white-haired caterpillar. Indeed, several severe cases have already been reported, according to BBC News . "During this time I had spells of feeling violently sick," one gardener told the news agency. "I thought I might have shingles. The rash got worse and the left side of my face became covered in this sore irritating rash." The larve's most toxic substance is a protein called thaumetopoein, which is found mostly in the caterpillars' hairs. These insects typically have around 63,000 hai...

Full article: https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/london-...

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