Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

14 worms pulled from woman's eye after rare infection

Mystery Diagnosis: Worms In The Eye After Eight Days Of Itchy Eyes, Oregon Woman Finds 14 Worms
Johnnie Parks | 15 February, 2018, 14:51

Well, it's not; one woman in OR had irritation in her left eye and doctors eventually extracted 14 worms.

Abby Beckley was working on an Alaskan fishing boat back in 2016 when she discovered something fishy in her left eye.

"Cases of eye worm parasitic infections are rare in the US, 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.

In the end, Bradbury identified the culprit: the cattle eye worm, Thelazia gulosa.

She was from the city of Gold Beach, located on Oregon's coast along the Pacific Ocean about 65km north of the California border.

After a week of eye irritation, she pulled a worm from her eye.

She removed four more worms from her eye before she went to the hospital, where a total of 14 worms were pulled out over the course of several weeks.

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"It felt like there was an eyelash in there that I could not see or get out". But sometimes they crawled right across her eyeball.

When she first went to the hospital, doctors couldn't figure out what was in there, so they sent samples to the CDC. "And they were saying things like, 'A lot of people, when they have this claim, it's usually just mucus, but wouldn't it be fascinating if there was a worm?' " Beckley says.

After they were removed, no more worms were found and she had no additional symptoms. They suspected it was an eye worm and recommended Beckley keep flushing them out pending a final identification. "They had to remove them as they became present and visible", Bradbury said. It is very possible, she said, a fly landed on her eye and infected her.

The CDC confirmed the worms were part of a group of eye worms known as Thelazia, but the scientists did not know which species. "The fly vomited the worms into her eye". "There have been about 10 cases of this worm since 1930", Bradbury says. Bradbury eventually found the 1928 German paper that had pictures of the worm species in question.

She hopes her ordeal will help others who might find themselves in a similar situation.

"Her boyfriend's dad is a physician and he said, 'My son's girlfriend has worms in her eye".

"If this does happen to anyone else, I want them to know this girl went through it, and she's fine", she said.

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