Overview

Type of disease: Rare conditions

Myiasis in general is a parasitic infection by fly larvae (maggots) that grow inside human skin and feed on the tissues. For humans, it is most commonly caused by the botfly larvae. It most often occurs to people in close contact with cattle. Individuals can contract myiasis through open wounds and lesions, unbroken skin, nose or ears, and through infected food. Myiasis can be located in a variety of areas from the skin, eyes, ears, stomach, and intestinal tract. If cutaneous myiasis (skin), affected individuals may feel painful, slow-developing ulcers and boil-like sores. For nasal myiases (nose), symptoms include: stuffy nose, severe nasal irritation, swelling, fevers, and possibly even death. For aural myiasis (ears) individuals may experience buzzing noises and crawling sensations and possibly small discharges. Myiasis is rare in North America, and as a result, delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis is common. Individuals are diagnosed usually through a physical examination for larvae in affected areas and an inquiry about his or her travel history. Ultrasounds are also sometimes used. Treatments include surgical removal of the larvae and certain medication depending on the larva. To prevent myiasis, people should maintain good personal hygiene, wash clothes in hot water and be vigilant in less sanitized areas.

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