REAL Worms in Our Eyes?

Adult female human botfly (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Adult female human botfly (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Adult female human botfly (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Adult female human botfly (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Bizarre and scandalous posts are so quickly picked up and shared on the social sites.  Some are supposedly meant to inform and warn the public.  But what if some posts could be misleading?  What if others are just  exaggerating information or worse, making up stories to catch the attention and interest of the readers?

Let us take one example of a post that caught widespread share; the “Careful with Dust” post/email.  To quote:

The Email/Post:

Subject: Fw: Careful with dust!!!

 

It's just like from an alien movie be very careful when u get caught with dust...as following pics will show effects of bad dust to a person.

While he was walking he felt an eye irritation, thinking that it was just regular dust, he started to rub his eye, in an effort to remove the dust.... then his eyes got really red, and he went and bought some eye drops from a pharmacy....few days passed n his eyes were still red and seems a little swollen.

Again he dismissed it as the constant rubbing and that it will go away. The days go by the swelling of his eye got worse, redder and bigger.... till he decided to go and see a doctor for a check up.

The doctor immediately wanted an operation, being afraid of a tumor growth or cyst. At the operation, what was thought to be a growth or cyst, actually turned out to be a live worm..... what was thought initially to be just mere dust actually was an insect's egg......because of that, my friends, if u do get caught in dust, and the pain persists, pls go see a doctor immediately...... thank you....

*******

Do you know that such an email had been circulating since November of 2002 and that just recently it made its way to Facebook and other sites, too?  Such that I saw it on the walls of many of my friends and acquaintances, but I doubted its credibility.   It has spread like wildfire; primarily, because of its bizarre photos.  In the analysis made by credible researchers, it was described as an email rumor with images and its status is listed as PARTLY TRUE.

This just goes to show that we should not be so gullible to believe everything that is shared.

That circulating email/post attracts readers because of its being bizarre.  The researchers found the shocking photos as authentic, coming from "Anterior Orbital Myiasis Caused by Human Botfly," an article published in July 2000, under "Archives of ophthalmology" a journal of American Medical Association.

My research divulged that MYIASIS refers to a maggot or fly larva which has infested a living body, and in that archive, a five-year-old boy was treated by USAF surgeons in the Republic of Honduras, who managed to gently remove the larva from the anterior orbit of the boy’s eye, who was under general anesthesia, of course.  Fortunately, because they managed to remove the larva through a small incision in the boy’s conjunctiva, he was none the worse after the operation.

The research further revealed that the circulating story’s narrative was not from the article and it looked like the article wasn’t even consulted when the narrative tale was composed.  The boy’s dilemma was an isolated case and not to terrify the readers to the claim that any one who is over-exposed to too much dust and rubs his eyes excessively might very well end up with a worm in the eye.

Entomologists explained that the human botfly lays its eggs on the bodies of other insects; for example, mosquitoes, which then transfer the eggs to animals, usually cattle or deer, or very

remotely, to human hosts by direct contact. After a botfly egg hatches, the larva burrows into the host’s skin head-first and begins feeding.

The human botfly, or Dermatobia hominis,  is one of several species of fly the larvae of which parasitise humans, in addition to a wide range of other animals. It is likewise known as the torsalo or American warble fly,even though the warble fly is in the genus Hypoderma and not Dermatobia and is a parasite on cattle and deer instead of humans.

The botfly is found mainly in Central and South America, but there are other species of flies known to be  responsible for cases of myiasis in North America, mainly blowflies. In one study by epidemiologists, most cases of myiasis in the US resulted from blowflies laying their eggs in pre-existing wounds, which we can deduce to be appealing to blowflies because of the smell of blood and the convenience it could give to their larva.

Perhaps it would have been better if the email/post had warned about open wounds to be kept covered especially if one lives in a heavy fly-infested location?  Hmmm… perhaps!

Web Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermatobia_hominis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blowfly

http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl-eye-worm3.htm

http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl-eye-worm.htm