According to a report published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene on Monday, Abby Beckley, a 26-year-old woman from Oregon had cattle worms coming out of her eye in the first known human case of a parasitic infection spread by flies.
The woman, Abby Beckley, was diagnosed in August 2016 with Thelazia gulosa. That is a type of eye worm seen in cattle in the northern United States and southern Canada, but never before in humans. Fourteen tiny worms were removed from the left eye of the woman in August 2016 though it has just been reported.
They are spread by a type of fly known as “face flies”. The flies feed on the tears that lubricate the eyeball, scientists said.
She had been horseback riding and fishing in Gold Beach, Oregon, a coastal, cattle-farming area.
After a week of eye irritation, Beckley pulled a worm from her eye. She visited doctors, but removed most of the additional worms herself during the following few weeks.
The worms were translucent and each less than half an inch (1.27cm) long.
After they were removed, no more worms were found and she had no other symptoms.
Eye worms are seen in several kinds of animals, including cats and dogs. They can be spread by different kinds of flies.
Two other types of Thelazia eye worm infections have been seen in people before, but never this kind, according to Richard Bradbury of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. He was the study’s lead author.
The undated photo provided by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows Thelazia gulosa, a type of eye worm seen in cattle in the northern United States and southern Canada, but never before in humans.