We have all heard that spiders and insects are more afraid of us than we are of them. That might not be the case across the board, as some insects can transmit extremely rare, and deadly diseases that you have never heard of. Obviously, we all know that bugs will likely leave us alone as long as we do not provoke them into attacking. But this does not mean that insect bites cannot kill you. Although incredibly rare, some regions of the world are home to native insects that can cause diseases in humans. For example, a zoo owner named Rebecca Willers, has recently contracted Diffuse Systemic Sclerosis from an “insect” bite. However, the many news articles that are telling this story have not mentioned what type of insect is responsible for causing the rare disease. Informational websites telling about this disease do not mention insects as a common cause. Despite this Willer’s doctors, and Willers herself, believe that insect bites caused the disease.

Willers sustained the bites while traveling through a wild area of indonesia. Willers was trekking through Kerinci Seblat National Park in Indonesia in order to spot tigers in the wild. Willers was brought to the jungle when she took advantage of an opportunity to work with the Tiger Conservation and Protection Unit (TCPU). At some point during her off-road travels, Willers sustained a bite, or several bites, from a particular insect type that has not yet been named. Doctors believe that Willer’s immune system was already in overdrive as a result of being in a jungle environment for an extended period of time. The insect bite was somehow able to trigger the disease given the particular environmental conditions that Willers was inhabiting. Once Willers returned home to the United Kingdom her symptoms hit her like a train. That was the first time she realized that she had contracted a disease while overseas.

Sadly, Diffuse Systemic Sclerosis is a long lasting and painful illness that commonly ends in death. Her doctors are telling her that the next three years will be the most painful.
Willers is currently worried about the disease spreading to her internal organs. However, Willers is thankful for her early diagnosis.

Have you ever heard of an insect bite causing a life-threatening disease? *ticks do not count since they are arachnids, not insects.


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