A Florida bride who took her honeymoon vacation in Belize returned home with more than just romantic memories of a beautiful Caribbean trip. The 36-year-old woman started suffering from increasingly itchy skin in the two months after her honeymoon, so she went to several doctors trying to figure out the cause. When antibiotics had no effect on the irritated, pimple-like sore on the left side of her groin, she sought another opinion from Dr. Enrico Camporesi, a specialist in wound healing at Memorial Hospital in Tampa.
According to LiveScience, Dr. Camporesi noticed that the lesion was starting to leak pus and the skin around it was hard as if a small pebble was underneath the surface. He feared that it could be a lymph node infection, but a colleague of his presented a different theory: the bump was a living creature. Disturbingly, he was right.
According to a case report from the Journal of Investigative Medicine High Impact Case Reports, surgery revealed a "deeply embedded maggot" featuring a tapered shape and multiple rows of spines and hooks.
It turned out to be the larva of a human botfly, an insect common to Central and South America. When botfly eggs hatch, the tiny larvae can burrow into human skin and sustain life by feeding on skin tissue and flesh. A hole forms in the host's skin so that the baby insect can breathe, expanding as it grows into a fly.
"In some cases, the patients can feel the larvae moving when they shower or cover the wound," the case study notes. Then, after 27 to 128 days, the larva drops to the ground where it pupates, maturing into an adult botfly. In developing countries, where botflies are common, such sores are treated by smearing petroleum jelly, bacon grease, or nail polish to block the hole and suffocate the larva. Luckily for the new bride, her wound healed completely in the week following the maggot's extraction. Thank goodness she's alright, but it must have been a very gross and alarming experience.
What do you think about this story? How would you react if you found out you had a maggot burrowing under your skin? Does knowledge about stuff like this affect your travel plans at all? Let us know in the comments down below!