Woman Documents Moving Lump on Face with Selfies, Doctors Find Parasite

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).

The bump was first noticed underneath her left eye, before it moved above it. Ten days after that, it had grossly swollen her upper lip.

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

Doctors ultimately gripped the bulge with forceps and, using local anesthesia, pulled out a parasitic worm known as Dirofilaria repens.

In a series of selfies, the woman tracked the mysterious lump as it moved across her face.

Two weeks after she noticed the lump, the woman finally made a decision to have it checked.

The women also said in the report that she was frequently bit by mosquitoes on her recent trip.

You wouldn't mind a pimple on your face for a lifetime as compared to having a worm underneath your skin.

The patient reportedly told physicians she'd traveled outside Moscow to rural Russian Federation, where she'd been the victim of a lot of mosquito bites.

That's because humans aren't its preferred host - it usually lives in carnivores, such as cats, dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes and sea lions.

Abby Beckley said she felt something in her left eye and, when she plucked up the courage to take a closer look, found the parasitic worm Thelazia gulosa wriggling about.

"A physical examination showed a superficial moving oblong nodule at the left upper eyelid", her doctor wrote in a case report.

The woman made a full recovery after the parasite was removed. The CDC notes that treatment for humans typically involves removal of the nodule - such as with the Russian woman - with no other medical treatment usually necessary.

The parasite, a cousin of heartworm, is found in Europe, Africa and Asia and can grow to as long as six inches.

The woman in the latest case also happened to visit a rural area outside of Moscow, Russia. The larvae then make their way into the mosquito's mouth parts and, Nolan said, when the mosquito bites an animal - or a human - they crawl quickly into the bite site.

Medical experts agree this parasite is just another reason to do what you can to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

  • Delores Daniels