See vomit, rash-inducing caterpillar worrying health experts
Tuesday, May 1, 2018, 12:45 PM - A large infestation of toxic caterpillars has descended on London, UK, prompting officials to issue a health warning.
London's forestry commission is advising the public not to come into contact with them.
Oak processionary moths (OPM), which are in their larval stage, have about 62,000 toxic hairs, which they can eject.
Once fallen to the ground, the hairs can remain active for up to five years.
A gardener told the BBC she fell "violently ill" after coming into contact with one of the caterpillars, starting with a rash on her stomach.
"During this time I had spells of feeling violently sick. I thought I might have shingles," she told the news outlet.
"The rash got worse and the left side of my face became covered in this sore irritating rash. My left eye became very sore and weepy.
"I contacted my doctor and it was confirmed I had been severely affected by OPM and must keep away from the source as over time I had developed a severe allergic reaction."
The toxic hairs have also been known to trigger asthma attacks, along with throat and eye irritations.
OPMs first established themselves in London in 2006. It's believed they were brought into the area via trees imported from other parts of Europe.
Officials are setting traps around the city for the caterpillars, which have been active since mid-April.