Parasitic worms found in woman's eye in California
Postmedia News
November 5, 2019
November 5, 2019 6:04 PM EST
In this undated CDC file photo, an adult female Thelazia gulosa is removed from the surface of the eye of a human, showing intestine and egg-filled ovaries taking up the majority of the length of the body. (CDC)
A 68-year-old woman who ran into a swarm of flies while jogging on a California trail was infected with parasitic worms in her eye.
The woman was running on a trail near the coast in California’s Carmel Valley in March 2018 when she rounded a corner and ran into a swarm of flies, according to a case report recently published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
The reports said she remembered “swatting the flies from her face and spitting them out of her mouth.”
A month later, the unidentified woman felt irritation in her right eye. When she flushed the eye with tap water, she discovered a transparent roundworm, measuring half an inch long.
She had a closer look at her eye and saw a second worm, which she also removed.
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The next day, the woman went to an ophthalmologist in Monterey, Calif., who discovered a third worm. He preserved it in formaldehyde to be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The woman was told to continue flushing her eye with distilled water and was prescribed a topical medication.
The CDC identified the worm as a species of eye worm called Thelazia gulosa, which is typically found in cattle in North America and carried by certain types of flies that feed off of eye secretions.
An adult Thelazia gulosa is removed from the eye of a human, resting on a person’s finger in this undated CDC photo. (CDC)
The woman, originally from Nebraska, later found a fourth worm when she returned home.
This is only the second case of human infection in the last two years, according to the report.
The previous case was a 26-year-old woman from Oregon in August 2016.
T. gulosa infections are becoming more common in domestic cows, which may result in “spillover” events in humans, the report said.
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