The sandfly might just sound like something that’s mildly annoying during a day out to the beach, but like so many insects, it has the potential to make us very ill indeed. This tiny fly, measuring around 2mm (3mm on a good day), carries a microorganism called a protozoa, which is even smaller, with microscopic proportions. Despite the size of this fly, known as a disease vector, since it carries something else (the protozoa) that causes disease that cannot exist on its own, the disease it causes is far from insignificant.
The disease in question is called Leishmaniasis, which can exist in various different forms. Depending on the form, it can cause large skin ulcers, destroy the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and throat and cause swelling of the spleen and liver. All of which sound horrific and cause visible and significant deformities (and the mental health problems that come with that).
Only the female sandfly carries the Leishmaniasis disease, and transmits it in her bite. Found in the inter-tropical and temperate regions of the world, they tend to bite in the evening and at night.