Ick! US Woman Has First Case of Human 'Eye Worm'

Ick! US Woman Has First Case of Human 'Eye Worm'

Ick! US Woman Has First Case of Human 'Eye Worm'

That's what happened to an avid 26-year-old outdoorswoman from OR, who recently became the first human ever infected by a type of eye worm previously seen only in cattle. She rubbed her eye, flushed it with water, but when the discomfort remained, she peered into the mirror. Once she removed all the worms, her eye returned to normal.

"Cases of eye worm parasitic infections are rare in the US", said Richard Bradbury, the lead author of the study who works with the CDC's Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, in a statement.

"I pulled down the bottom of my eye and noticed that my skin looked weird there".

Beckley recalls that the worms she pulled from underneath her eyelids were no more than an inch long and had a translucent body. "Oh my gosh! It just crawled across your eye!" "I just pulled a worm out of my eye!" She was soon diagnosed with Thelazia gulosa - an eye worm that was only known to infect animals, such as cattle in the northern United States and southern Canada. Thankfully, that type of infection is very rare and is only caused by eating undercooked pork.

Thelazia gulosa, a type of eye worm appears in a handout photo provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Feb. 8, 2018.

The worms are transmitted through face flies which carry their larvae in the mouth.

"In general, flies are attracted to the moisture and salt in our tears", said Dr. Audrey Schuetz, an associate professor of pathology with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said. One fly carrying cattle eyeworm larvae may have briefly landed on the patient's eye.

Two studies have published their findings in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, with one revealing that a woman in the USA state of OR is the first known instance in the world of a human infection with Thelazia gulosa.

Several of the worms were sent to the CDC for analysis.

Adult Thelazia gulosa removed from the eye of a human, now on a person's finger.

The study documents the 11th time eye worms infected a person in North America. (There's a similar species, called the oriental worm, or Thelazia callipaeda, which has infected about 150 people in Europe and Asia - so it's rare, too).

This is the first record of the creepy crawly in humans, and it means Americans may be more vulnerable than previously believed. In more serious cases, they can cause scarring of the cornea and even blindness.

In the latest example of why you should never go outside or do anything besides binge Netflix shows all day, an or woman was discovered to have a first-of-its-kind infection that resulted in 14 worms being extracted from her eyeball.

Related news