Saturday, November 9, 2019

Parasitic Worms Infect Woman's Eye

The author Scott Sigler recently featured this story on his Facebook page. I thought it was worth sharing here. 

Although the story is as far as I know 100% real, it has some very obvious similarities to one of Sigler's books in which a protagonist armed with nothing else but a University of Michigan education, chicken scissors, and a very bad attitude must remove some very nasty parasites from his body. 

Truth really is stranger than fiction. Humans have enough problems. It is kind of scary that we seem to be becoming vulnerable to problems that should be reserved for completely different species. A woman went running and as runners are occasionally prone to do ran through a swarm of flies. She swatted them away from her face and spit them out of her mouth. This sort of thing happens all the time. No harm, no foul right?  Wrong.

A 68-year-old woman returned from a trail run in California with irritation in her right eye. She proceeded to do what anyone does when their eye is irritated and flushed it out with water. The woman then discovered something horrific in her eye –– a half-inch long worm, according to a new report of the case published in the journal Clinical Infectious. 
After checking even further, she found a second worm that in her eye that she managed to remove herself. The next day, she went to see an eye doctor in California who retrieved a third worm from her eye. Unfortunately, the situation didn't stop there for the unidentified woman. She pulled a fourth and final worm from the same eye about a month later. 

A preserved worm sample was sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where researchers determined that the woman was infected with a species of eye worm called Thelazia gulosa.

The roundworm, which is also known as a nematode, typically infects cows and is carried by certain types of face flies that consume eye secretions, according to LiveScience. LINK

Is this the result of climate change? Are the parasites or flies somehow mutating so that humans are more amenable hosts? Something has gone wrong because as common as cattle are you would think that farmers and slaughterhouse workers would have long histories of this kind of parasitical infection. But from what I can tell, they don't.

So what changed? I hope we find out soon. But in the meantime I guess it's important for people to avoid flies. And respect to the tough lady with the guts and will to pull worms out of her eyeball.
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