News Worms
News Worms

OR woman pulls more than a dozen small worms from her eye

OR woman pulls more than a dozen small worms from her eye

"It was squiggling around on my finger", Beckley said.

FMI: The case report was published online in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, where it can be read in full.

Scientists at CDC's special lab that diagnoses parasitic diseases figured out she had been infected by a species of eye worm that had never before been found in a human.

This undated photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows Thelazia gulosa, a type of eye worm seen in cattle in the northern United States and southern Canada, but never before in humans. Only 160 cases linked to the species have been reported in humans in Europe and Asia, and only 11 have been reported in the US.

The best Bonura and her colleagues can guess is the patient, Abby Beckley, may have been infected while being near cows or horses in the rural fields near her family's home. The flies ingest the worm larvae, then land on an animal's eyes, where the flies feed on tears and other secretions.

Cases of human eyeworms have been reported before.

Beckley recalls that the worms she pulled from underneath her eyelids were no more than an inch long and had a translucent body.

In August 2016, 26-year-old Abby Beckley from OR became the first known medical case of a human being infested with parasites normally observed in cattle OR house pets.

However, identifying the worms was only half the battle. She saw a few doctors while she was onshore in Alaska, but no one knew what to do.

The 26-year-old rides horses in OR and fishes in Alaska.

Beckley didn't suffer any long-term symptoms, but she hopes her story might help someone in the future.

Two weeks into the trip she felt something under her eyelid.

A rare eye infection resulted in 14 worms in Abby Beckley's eye.

Beckley first reported sensing an irritant in her left eye.

The researchers say people affected by eye worms typically experience a sensation like there is a foreign object in their eye, and the eye becomes inflamed.

"When I was going through it, it was like, there were parts of it that were so strangely comical, but then there were parts of it that just felt like I was living in a nightmare", Beckley admits. "They had to remove them as they became present and visible". They are often called "eyeworms", and infestation with Thelazia species is referred to as "thelaziasis" (occasionally spelled "thelaziosis"). She removed majority herself. Besides being briefly anxious when she feels a lash in her eye, she doesn't have any other lingering effects.

"Infections from Thelazia worms mostly happen in animals and humans are just incidental hosts", Bonura said.


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