1st Recorded Case Of Eye Worm Found In Oregonian

15 February, 2018, 06:37 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • At age 26 Abby Beckley worked on a salmon boat in Alaska

What a woman thought as an ordinary eye inflammation is actually an infection that only occurs among cattle.

The studies, in the "American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene," report that the worm, previously seen only in cows, can now be spread to humans.

Five days later, she returned to port where she used to mirror to examine her eye properly and pulled out a tiny, translucent worm. Beckley was infested with an eye worm species called Thelazia gulosa.

A tiny worm species till now only seen in cattle has been found inside the eye of a United States woman for the first time.

"We never expected to see this particular species in a human", Bradbury said.

These eye worms are spread by flies that feed on the tears that lubricate the eyeball.

She was from the city of Gold Beach, located on Oregon's coast along the Pacific Ocean about 40 miles (65 km) north of the California border.

All cattle worms were successfully removed from Beckley's eye.

The researchers said the woman noticed a worm in her left eye after experiencing irritation and thinking it was a stray eyelash.

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"I just pulled my hand back and stared at it in shock and was like, 'oh my god, that's a worm!'" Beckley told IFLScience. "I was living with these things, and I'd just keep pulling them out when I'd feel them", Beckley said.

CORRECTION: The headline in a previous version of this story incorrectly indicated doctors removed the worms from Beckley's eye.

Eye worms can also affect other animals, including cats and dogs, and can be spread by various kinds of flies. They are transmitted by different types of flies.

"Cases of eye worm parasitic infections are rare in the US", said Richard Bradbury, the lead author of the study who works with the CDC's Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, in a statement. And a local doctor had no suggestions. "She confirmed I wasn't insane", Beckley said.

An Oregon woman is the first known human to be infected with a kind of eye worm thought to only exist in cattle, leading scientists to speculate that Americans may be vulnerable to the parasite. Well, they typically live in face flies, which hang around livestock, and a fly most likely landed on her face while she was in OR visiting her family and friends who have animals.

"I stayed in contact with her, and we were able to tell her this was very localised, that it was not systemic", the physician said.

The worms were only identified as Thelazia gulosa months later after being sent to the CDC.

The woman's case is indeed a breakthrough in parasitology, as the doctors claim this to be the first case of animal-to-human eye worms infection case. In more serious cases, they can cause scarring of the cornea and even blindness.

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