OR woman plucks 14 parasitic worms from eye after rare infection

OHSU via AP

The first of many.

An Oregon woman has become the first person worldwide known to have had an eye infestation by a tiny worm species previously seen only in cattle that is spread by flies that feed on eyeball lubrication, US government researchers said on Monday.

A few weeks later, she started to have the sensation that something was in her eye. It felt like there was a hair or something in her eye.

The paper's lead author is Richard S. Bradbury, PhD, of the CDC's Parasitic Diseases Branch, who did some serious sleuthing with Bonura and others to identify the unwelcome worm. So I went like this, in like a picking motion, and I felt something in between my fingers and I pulled it out and I looked at my finger and it was a moving worm.

A WOMAN has become the first person in the world to have her eyes infested with a parasitic WORM usually found in cattle and dogs.

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"When I pulled out that worm", Beckley told the Oregonian. When they're ready, they move up to the fly's mouthparts and await eyeball delivery. "They had to remove them as they became present and visible", Bradbury said.

As for treatment, her doctor at OHSU encouraged her to keep pulling out the worms when she could.

If Beckley didn't notice them, the worms could've slid further into her eye and caused blindness. "Oh my gosh! It just crawled across your eye!" "Dr. Bonura was so willing to just talk with me and was really empathetic to what I was going through as the person who had this thing in her eye".

Giving more details on what exactly this species of worm were, the researchers said, "Usually this species of "Thelazia worm" was mostly seen in cattle's in the northern United States and southern Canada". The worms are transmitted to eyes by flies.

"In general, flies are attracted to the moisture and salt in our tears", said Dr. Audrey Schuetz, an associate professor of pathology with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said.

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The parasite, identified as Thelazia gulosa, is normally spread between cattle by flies landing on or near the eyes. In this instance, the woman might have been too distracted while riding horseback to free a hand and shoo the fly off.

An Oregon woman has rare eye infection that resulted in 14 tiny worms in eyes.

Several of the worms were sent to the CDC for analysis.

Eyeworms infect a variety of animals - from livestock to household pets - but human hosts are rare.

Initially, the doctors thought Beckley could be infected with Thelazia californiensis because that is the only species that was known to infect humans in the US.

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This is the first record of the creepy crawly in humans, and it means Americans may be more vulnerable than previously believed.

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