Oregon Woman Discovered 14 Cattle Worms In Her Eye

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Thelazia gulosa a type of eye worm seen in cattle in the northern United States and southern Canada but never before in humans. An Oregon woman who had worms comin

Her eye turned red, her eyelid drooped, but she still had no clue what was going on.

The 28-year-old OR resident felt a prick under her eyelid and figured it was just a stray lash.

Several eye worms from the OR case were sent to the federal agency's parasitic disease laboratory where they were identified as cattle eye worms OR Thelazia gulosa. It was the first time this particular parasite had ever been found in humans, writes Engelaupt. They're rarely seen in humans in the U.S., but all of the infections have been reported in summer months, too. And a local doctor had no suggestions.

Previously, it was assumed that there are only two species of eye worms capable of infecting humans: the Thelazia californiensis and Thelazia callipaeda.

There are about a dozen types of Thelazia infections, most of which can be found in humans.

After returning home, Beckley booked an appointment at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

When she arrived on shore five days later she dug out a live, wriggling worm.

"So I put my fingers in with a sort of a plucking motion, and a worm came out!" "It was alive and squiggling around", she recalled. But until now, it had only been seen in the eyes of cattle.

The study documents the 11th time eye worms infected a person in North America. "It's just a warning that we saw this in a human and if something comes up again, doctors might check for Thelazia gulosa".

So how did Beckley acquire the infection?

The CDC examined some of the worms, and identified them as cattle eye worms which are spread by a kind of fly called "face flies".

She may have been infected while horseback riding and fishing near the OR coast, where there are cows and flies that feed on their eye secretions. The worms are transmitted to eyes by flies.

Beckley had horseback riding and fishing in Gold Beach, cattle farming area.

Beckley first reported sensing an irritant in her left eye.

Eventually, doctors sent a few of the worms to the CDC.

Dr Erin Bonura, from the OHSU School of Medicine explained: 'It's a little unsatisfying to ask the patient to just keep pulling out the worms, but that is the best thing to do because if we give her an antiparasitic agent, the worms would die in there but wouldn't be removed'.

Previous cases of such eye worm infections have been reported worldwide, predominantly in Europe and Asia and in rural communities with close proximity to animals and with poor living standards, the researchers said. Apparently, flies capable of carrying the worms are also found in NY, but the worm has not yet been found in North America.

Standing at the mirror in the galley, [Beckley] plucked at her eyeball, as if extracting a contact lens.

The tiny eye worm that was pulled from Abby Beckley's left eye.

These insects carry and deposit the parasite's larvae into eyeballs of other animals where they can thrive for up to 30 months while causing loss of vision. "It's a very rare situation".

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