Photo by Elaine Chubbs/CBC

Black flies attack Labrador woman causing hundreds of bites, fever

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A woman in Newfoundland is suffering from hundreds of nasty bites, a fever, and swollen ankles after a swarm of black flies attacked her.

Elaine Chubbs was gardening at her home in St. Lewis, Labrador when all of a sudden she was surrounded by the pesky, biting flies.

She escaped to her house and that’s when her husband noticed her ankles were bleeding. When she took off her socks, she found hundreds of red bites in a cluster.

“It’s just like somebody took a stamp machine with perhaps 200 needles in it, and just drove it in through my ankles,” Chubbs said to the CBC in an interview.

After, Chubbs developed a fever and her ankles began swelling. She went to the hospital where she was told she had cellulitis, a potentially serious bacterial skin infection that can spread to other parts of the body.

Earlier this summer, G.D.G. Environment, a company that studies bug forecasts for the Weather Network, said that black flies were going to be especially bad this season in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and the East Coast.

Marc Ardis, who works for G.D.G., predicted that black fly season could last for the entire summer in Newfoundland and Labrador due to cooler conditions than normal

“Basically what allows the population to die-off is a nice and long heatwave,” Ardis said to the Weather Network. “What happens is they get generation after generation of blackflies and mosquitoes, and there is no heat to kill them off.”

Although Chubbs is on the mend with antibiotics and prednisone to treat the infection, she’s still traumatized by the experience.

“I’m so paranoid now, I think I would rather have a bear come to the door.”