Watch out, Argentina — a deadly caterpillar with a bristle-like appearance is on the loose.
Cristian García, 22, was sipping maté on the porch of his Santa Ana home when a rare venemous Hylesia nigricans catepillar dropped into his lap. Authorities say the young man is fighting for his life in intensive care.
Contact on human skin with the caterpillar, commonly known as the "hairy one" or "furry cat," can cause edema and hemorrhages in various parts of the body, as well as severe pain and blood clotting, says the country’s Ministry of Public Health.
The antidote, which isn’t produced in Argentina, had to be brought in from Brazil, which García's family hopes will save his life.
Roberto Stetson, who heads Argentina’s Venomous Animals Program, said that every time there’s a bite from banana spiders or other tarantulas, they “must ask favors from their neighbors.” He added that it’s difficult for them to give them the cure as the neighboring countries don't have any standing agreement for the supply of such substances, reported the Argentine daily Clarin.
The only other reported incidents have taken place close to the Brazilian border, but this new case in Santa Ana shows that the caterpillar has expanded its territory, increases the possibility of more human victims.