She Thought It Was Just An Insect Bite, Then Her Skin Begins Wriggling

A woman in the United Kingdom began experiencing some pain and irritation from little abrasions on her skin. She went to the doctor, who reassured her she just got some bad bug bites. He prescribed antibiotics to stave off infection and sent her home. If only it had been that simple, but it wasn't.

The unnamed woman, age 46, continued to experience increasing pain and discomfort. Then she got the alarming feeling of something moving under her skin. She went back to the doctor, and to his horror, he could see something wiggling inside her wounds.

The doctor squeezed one of the bites and out spilled some writhing, live maggots.

The woman had recently come back from a trip to Africa's Ivory Coast where she apparently encountered the tumbu fly. This fly lays eggs on damp cloths, towels or fabrics. If a human's skin comes in contact with the eggs, the larvae bury themselves deep within the person's skin where they fester.

At some point, the maggots reach full size and seek to exit the host body. They begin chomping and clawing their way out, which causes irritated and inflammed tissue that was the source of the patient's pain.

The doctors expelled the maggots that were close to the surface, but ultimately the woman had to have surgery so the doctors could extract the insects that were more deeply imbedded in the woman's flesh.

If doctors hadn't interceded, the maggots would have eventually forced their way out of the woman's skin, dropped to the ground and hatched as flies. Those flies would have sought to lay more eggs, endangering others.

It's a nightmarish experience, but experts say it can be avoided. Heat is the enemy of tumbu fly eggs. Anyone visiting Africa might want to try throwing their clothes or towels in the dryer, or running an iron over them, before letting them come into contact with their skin. This will prevent an infection, and keep you from going home with a disgusting little stow-away.

Source: Elite Daily
Photo: New England Journal Of Medicine

Gross!

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