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Asian Games: ‘Tomcat’ bites force officials to seek medical treatment

  • Nurni Sulaiman

    The Jakarta Post

Palembang | Fri, August 31, 2018 | 11:46 am
Asian Games: ‘Tomcat’ bites force officials to seek medical treatment Rove beetle (Staphylinus caesareus), an insect known locally as "tomcat". (Shutterstock/-)

While the Asian Games athletes are busy seeking glory, several Games officials have had to seek medical treatment after being bitten by rove beetles, an insect known locally as tomcat, while staying at the athletes village in Palembang, South Sumatra. 

Gatot Trismawan and Kamrollah are among the victims that have suffered the most, developing blisters on their necks, chests and stomachs. Both Gatot and Kamrollah are officials at Dempo Stadium at the Jakabaring Sports City in Palembang, South Sumatra.

“These insects are literally everywhere. They are in the toilets and on the floors, all of a sudden,” Kamrollah said.

Gatot, who had swelling around his eyes and blisters all over his thighs, said as his apartment had not been equipped with air conditioning he often had no choice but to open his windows, which meant letting the insects in. 

“The room often becomes too hot, so we need to open our window to get some fresh air, and apparently we also received tomcat as a bonus,” he said. Gatot said the insects would come in the evening and the night and that they were attracted to the lights.

Both Gatot and Kamrollah said they had lost sleep and had sought immediate medical assistance.

“Please be advised those who are currently staying in apartments without AC, be extremely careful of your surroundings before you go to bed. That’s when the insects bite,” Gatot said. 

Both officials are currently receiving medical treatment from the Jakabaring medical team.

Prima Saprianti, a doctor who treated the pair, said they would be fine as long as they received proper medical assistance. 

“We have prescribed medicine and medical cream to cure their swollen skin,” she said.

A security officer at the athletes village, Dedy Daniel, confirmed the presence of tomcat, and said some rooms had been sprayed with insect repellent to get rid of the insects.

“The rooms are sprayed three times a day. They will also be sprayed at 10 p.m. when most people return to the apartments,” he said. 

Dedy Zulkarnain, another doctor who treated Gatot and Kamrollah, said at least three other people had requested treatment after a tomcat “attack”. He said the three other patients worked at the Asian Games bowling venue, also in Palembang. 

The doctor advised anyone who experienced a tomcat bite to rinse their skin with clean water without any soap. 

“Don’t use soap, just clean it with water.”

Besides the insect bites, he said most of the patients who had come seeking medical assistance were suffering from acute respiratory infections and influenza. 

“We have been treated 20 people with those conditions,” the doctor said. 

He said his patients had included foreign athletes and officials from India, Malaysia, Singapore and Pakistan.

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