Flesh-Eating Maggots Found Inside English Woman's Head

Wednesday, 17 Jul 2013 07:03 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Flesh-eating maggots were discovered inside an English woman's head after a Peruvian fly laid its eggs in the woman's ear cavity.

Rochelle Harris, 27, was visiting Peru on vacation with her boyfriend earlier in the year when she encountered a swarm of flies along her travels.

On the flight home, Harris began experiencing a severe headache, accompanied by a shooting pain across her face and what she described as "scratching noises" in her head, the BBC reported.

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Upon examination at the Royal Derby Hospital, physicians found larvae from the New World Screwworm Fly inside her ear.

According to surgeons who examined Harris, the fly's eggs had hatched eggs and chewed a 12-millimeter hole in her ear canal, the BBC reported.

"I was very scared. I wondered if they were in my brain," Harris told the Discovery Channel, which is featuring her story on a new show called "Bugs, Bites and Parasites." "I thought to myself, 'This could be very, very serious.' I just wanted them out of me and now I knew what was causing the sensations and sounds it made it all the worse."

Having removed the maggots they saw in their initial inspection of Harris' ear canal, doctors proceeded to give her a CT Scan in order to discover the extent of the damage and if there were any maggots remaining inside the 27-year-old.

After removing two maggots, the surgeons further examined the ear canal with a microscope and speculum, where they discovered eight large maggots, the BBC says.

"As I pushed the speculum through the little hole opened up [and] I saw a writhing mass of maggots," a surgeon told the Discovery Channel.

If one of the maggots had gained access to Harris' brain, the English woman could have been left paralyzed in the face or even died from meningitis, Stuff.co.nz reports via Fairfax NZ News.

The doctors were able to successfully remove all the flesh-eating maggots from Harris' ear and do not expect her to suffer from any long-term effects as a result of the incident.

New World Screwworm flies are a parasitic species that primarily target warm-blooded animals such as cattle and other livestock. They are found throughout the southern United States, as well as in Central and South America.

Their entire life cycle on average lasts for just 21 days.

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Related stories:

Flesh-Eating Bacteria Survivor Gets Prosthetic Hands

Parents Read Lips of Woman with Flesh-eating Bug

Maggots Force Plane Back to Gate in Atlanta

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