Thursday, 22 February, 2018

OR girl pulls greater than a dozen small worms from her eye

Worms removed from eye of Oregon woman After Eight Days Of Itchy Eyes, Oregon Woman Finds 14 Worms
Marlene Weaver | 15 February, 2018, 14:51

It's a medical discovery you'd hate to be part of: A 26-year-old OR woman is believed to be the first human ever reported to be infected with a certain species of eye worm.

Richard Bradbury, team lead of the Parasitology Reference Diagnostic Laboratory at the CDC's Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, told CBS News that 14 worms were removed from Beckley's eye over a 20-day period.

Abby tried carrying out her own research, but came up empty.

Luckily, her boyfriend's parents, both doctors, got her an appointment with an infectious disease specialist in Portland, Ore.

"I looked down and on my finger was a worm, and it was squiggling around for five seconds and it died", the woman, Abby Beckley, told KVAL. Until now, this type of worm, Thelazia gulosa, had only been found in cattle.

"It's fairly unheard of to have worms in your eye in the US, unless you've traveled to a developing country".

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Eye worms are seen in several kinds of animals, including cats and dogs.

"The baby worms then grow into larger larvae inside the fly", Bradbury says.

"Cases of eye worm parasitic infections are rare in the U.S., and this case turned out to be a species of the Thelazia that had never been reported in humans", said study lead author Richard Bradbury, who works with the CDC's Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria.

Actually, it wasn't fish, it was worms ― 14 of them.

Eventually, doctors sent a few of the worms to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "They had to remove them as they became present and visible", Bradbury said. (There's a similar species, called the oriental worm, or Thelazia callipaeda, that has infected about 150 people in Europe and Asia - so it's rare, too). This type, T. gulosa (the cattle eyeworm), however is a previously unreported parasite of humans and the first reported case of human thelaziasis in North America in over two decades.

It's an incredibly rare medical event, as the parasitic worms typically live on the surfaces of cows' eyes. It is very possible, she said, a fly landed on her eye and infected her. The major difference being that these face flies, as they're known, love to gobble down on other animals' bodily fluids for nourishment, especially their tears, where they inadvertently pick up eye worm larvae. "The fly vomited the worms into her eye".

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