Moving lump in woman's face was a worm, doctors say

Lynette PayneJun 26, 2018

The women also said in the report that she was frequently bit by mosquitoes on her recent trip. Things changed when that small lump spent the next two weeks navigating the woman's face. Kartashev, who wrote the case together with Fernando Simon at the University of Salamanca in Spain, explained, "The nodules occasionally caused a localized itching and burning sensation, but otherwise she had no symptoms". Five days after she first noticed the lump, it migrated to above her left eye.

The case - and shocking images - were published Thursday in a report titled "Migrating Dirofilaria repens" in the New England Journal of Medicine, detailing a case in which a woman from Russian Federation contracted a parasite through a mosquito bite. An ophthalmologist observed what was called a "superficial moving oblong nodule at the left upper eyelid", and upon further investigation, doctors made a troubling discovery.

The critter, known as Dirofilaria repens, is a long parasitic roundworm that is spread by mosquitoes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"After removal of the worm the patient had a full recovery", they added. As this worm remains typically infertile inside the human beings, the solution to these types of cases is generally removing the worm by a surgery. Women aged between 41 and 60 who had visited rural or recreational areas in the south-western regions of Russian Federation were the most common patients. However, that is not where they want to be, as the worms are unable to reproduce inside humans. So a human infection by one of these worms is always an accident.

After 10 days: the worm had crawled all the way down her face into her lip.

He and his team found that between June 1997 and June 2013, around 1,272 cases of dirofilariasis were recorded in Russian Federation and Belarus.

The lead author of the report in NEJM, Vladimir Kartashev, an infectious disease expert at Rostov State Medical University in Rostov-na-Donu, Russia, told The Washington Post in an email that D. repens is an "emerging disease" in the western part of the former Soviet Union and certain parts of Europe.

In humans, the parasitic infection usually shows up as lumps beneath the skin, and sometimes, the lumps - or rather, the worms - move around.

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