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How Bizarre

14 cattle eyeworms removed from Oregon woman’s eye

First known case of Thelazia gulosa infection in a human

By
5:34pm, February 12, 2018
Thelazia gulosa

THE EYES HAVE IT  Fourteen Thelazia gulosa nematodes, or cattle eyeworms, took up residence in the left eye of an Oregon woman, making her the first ever reported human case.

A 26-year-old woman felt something in her left eye. For days, she couldn’t shake the sensation. But this was no errant eyelash or dive-bombing gnat. 

A week after that first irritation, the Oregon resident pulled a translucent worm, about a centimeter long, from her eye. With that harrowing feat, she became the first ever reported case of a human infestation with the cattle eyeworm, Thelazia gulosa. “This is a very rare event and exciting from a parasitological perspective,” says medical parasitologist Richard Bradbury of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. “Perhaps not so exciting if you are the patient.”

Over 20 days, she and her doctors removed 14 worms from her infected eye, researchers report online February 12 in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. After that, no more irritation.

T.

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