OR woman plucks 14 parasitic worms from eye after rare infection


There have been 10 other cases of eye worm infections in the US.

The studies, in the "American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene," report that the worm, previously seen only in cows, can now be spread to humans.

That took several weeks, and Beckley says she's been worm-free ever since. "Now, we have to add Thelazia gulosa, a third one to the list".

Thelazia is a genus of nematode worms which parasitize the eyes and associated tissues of various bird and mammal hosts, including humans.

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"We never expected to see this particular species in a human", Bradbury said. The worm is spread by flies, which carry the larvae in their mouth parts and drop them into the fleshy part of the eye while feeding.

She had been horseback riding and fishing in Gold Beach, Oregon, a coastal, cattle-farming area.

All cattle worms were successfully removed from Beckley's eye.

'I pulled down the bottom of my eye and noticed that my skin looked weird there. "I pulled it out and I looked at my finger and it was a moving worm", Beckley explains. "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. Until one day, she pulled the first worm from behind her eyelid. Doctors there were having just as much trouble identifying the worms because they were so elusive, and every chance she got, Abby picked them out herself.

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Eye worms, technically known as Thelazia, are found in a variety of animals - including cats, dogs, and wild carnivores like foxes. Worm larvae in tears get sucked into the fly's intestines, where they grow and go through two molts.

Doctors collected samples of the worms and sent them to the Centers for Disease Control, which identified the worm as Thelazia gulosa, an eye parasite found in the USA and Canada. And a local doctor had no suggestions. After removing all the worms, Beckley had no additional symptoms; neither did the worms recur. "It was alive and squiggling around", she told the Post.

12 years ago, this particular spread of eye worm in Europe was predicted from the southern part of the continent northwards based on the same evidence that led to these latest findings in NY. I ran into my crewmate Allison's room, and I said, "I need you to see this!" However, eye worms infections in humans are very rare as only 11 cases were recorded in North America and only 163 cases in Asia and Europe. It was just one of many as she became the first human being to be infected by the type of eye worm that is only found in cattle. The worms are transmitted to eyes by flies. The researchers wrote, "Occasionally, the worms migrate across the surface of the eye and cause corneal scarring, opacity, and blindness".

The worms were only identified as Thelazia gulosa months later after being sent to the CDC.

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