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Blemishes moving around woman’s face turn out to be parasitic worm

Blemishes moving around woman’s face turn out to be parasitic worm

A freaky lump that appeared on a woman's face was actually a parasitic worm crawling under her skin.

Over five days, a 32-year-old woman in Russian Federation took selfies to document a unusual lump on her face that moved from under her left eye to above it and then later to her lip. Ten days after that, it had grossly swollen her upper lip.

Turns out, the moving bump was a parasite known as a Dirofilaria repens, a type of long, thin parasitic roundworm that enters its hosts through mosquito bites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although it is rare for the parasite to infect humans - it naturally lives in dogs and other carnivores - there are definitely enough recorded cases to make you uncomfortable.

The woman experienced some itching and burning and went to an ophthalmologist to get the lump checked out, according to a case study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Fortunately, the worm is not found in the US however there are other creepy crawlies lurking about to be concerned about. "After removal of the worm, the patient had a full recovery", Kartashev and Simon wrote.

Her first picture shows it just below her left eye, but five days later the worm had crawled to above her eye.

There was also in incident when Canadian couple Katie Stephens and Eddie Zytner came home from their tropical vacation to the Dominican Republic with hookworms in their feet after walking barefoot on the beach.

In the case report of the Russian woman, doctors were able to surgically remove the worm and she recovered, physically.

A series of photos showing the worm migrating around the woman's face, and after it was removed. She also noted her recent trip and recalled being frequently bitten by mosquitoes.

Generally, though, the worm causes "no serious harm to humans (but certainly to the dogs)", Kurtzhals said. The worms are transmitted by mosquito bites, and can accidentally use a human as a host.

Adding to the already grim situation, the worm can live up to two years in the human body if it is not removed.

Once under a human's skin, the worm, which is spread by mosquito bites, can not breed. In a 2009 case report, one strain of the parasite even caused meningoencephalitis, or inflammation of the brain and its surrounding membranes. In people, it usually causes lumps under the skin, like this woman in Russian Federation reported.

But according to the report in Parasites & Vectors, if continues to spread, it's possible that it could be introduced in the U.S. by infected dogs who come into the country.

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