Catherine Stewart is a 28 year old woman from the UK. Recently she went on a trip to Gambia. When she came back, she noticed that she had red dots that looked odd. A few turned a yellowish color, which she thought was pus under the skin, but when she pushed on one of these bumps and something moved, she knew something was very wrong.
Stewart’s husband managed to tweeze out a maggot from the tumbu fly. He took a few more out and after Stewart began to freak out because she had maggots in her skin (and rightly so!) and then took her to the doctor. She had fourteen maggots total embedded into her skin.
The Discovery Channel took an interest in her case and reported on it in their program “Bugs, Bites, and Parasites”.
Earlier this month a British woman was found to have flesh-eating worms in her ear. LiveScience did a report on Rochelle Harris, who had gone on a vacation to Peru. When she came back she noticed that she had a discharge coming from her ear and strange headaches that came on suddenly. When she went to the doctor’s office they found that she had New World screwworm fly larvae in her ear.
The tumbu fly is a parasite usually on large mammals and humans. It lays its eggs in the ground and then when the eggs hatch, the larvae attach themselves to a host. They go through three stages of development and then drop from the host back into the soil. A human can come in contact with this parasite many ways, but one of the most common is wet clothes that are hanging out to dry. The larvae will be on the clothing when they are put on the body and then they will burrow in the skin.