Doctors have removed more than a dozen worms from the left eye of a young woman. A species that usually only infects animals.
Abby Beckley, 26, thought she had an eyelash stuck in her eye, but she finally discovered it was a worm. Researchers reported on her case in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. These worms had never infected humans before.
The amazement of doctors
In an interview with CNN, the young woman reports that she had an itch in her left eye in 2016 while fishing for salmon in Alaska. “It was like an eyelash that stings you.” The friend with her was inspecting her eye but found nothing. A few days later, Abbey still felt the itchiness. She looks in turn, pinches the inflamed skin and eventually removed a transparent worm about 1.25 cm. She wriggles a few seconds on her finger and it dies quickly. But the pain persists. Abbey finally goes to the hospital and there, surprise: the doctors remove five others.
The young woman then went to the Oregon Hospital for further tests. Very skeptical doctors initially thought of mucus in their eyes. “I prayed for the worms to come out of my eye, so that I could be believed, I will never forget that when the doctor and the intern saw him fidgeting in my eye. One leap back, completely panicked, and they shouted, “Oh my god, I saw it,” she says. A total of 14 worms were removed from her eye.
The Thelazia Guloza
“This is the eleventh time a person has been infected with an eye worm in North America,” says parasitologist Richard Bradbury. But strange fact, the researcher recognized theThelazia guloza. “What’s really exciting is that it’s a new species that has never infected humans so far, it’s a cattle worm that has landed in a human, we do not really know how.” adds the specialist.
These worms usually infect cattle and dogs, but much more rarely humans. Only two cases of contamination by a species of Thelazia (different from this one) have already been diagnosed. The infection is due to flies. They ingest larvae and put them on eyes, usually animals. It is by feeding on the tears and other secretions of the eye that the worms grow.
More fear than harm
The scientists preferred to remove the larvae one by one until the young woman was completely rid of them since an anti-parasitic treatment could have left her scars on the eye. Today, Abbey Beckley has no aftermath of this bad experience.