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Woman Digs Out Rare Wriggly Roundworms from Her Eyes After Developing Irritation

68-year-old Nebraska woman was in California's Carmel Valley in March 2018 when she felt irritation in her right eye and flushed it out with tap water.

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Updated:November 5, 2019, 1:53 PM IST
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Woman Digs Out Rare Wriggly Roundworms from Her Eyes After Developing Irritation
Representative Image.

In what is the second only case discovered ever, a trail run near California coast may have led a woman face a zootonic disease. Turns out, the woman contracted an infection with a rare parasitic eye worm.

There has been only one other human case of the disease, when a 26-year-old Oregon woman was infected with it, reported Live Science.

In the report of the case published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases on October 22, the woman contracted the worm, which usually infects cows.

According to Live Science, the 68-year-old Nebraska woman, who spends her winters in California's Carmel Valley, was there in March 2018 when she felt irritation in her right eye and flushed it with tap water.

What emerged from her eye, however, was what horror stories are made of.

A 1.3-centimetre long wriggly roundworm emerged from her eye, following which she looked closely at her eye and discovered a second roundworm.

According to the report, she managed to remove it as well.

The women then visited an ophthalmologist, who found a third roundworm, known as a nematode, from the woman's eye. The doctor preserved it. She was asked to continuously flush her eyes and to remove any more worms and was given medicines to prevent bacterial infections.

The preserved worm was sent to the CDC and researchers came to the conclusion that the woman was infected with a species of eye worm called Thelazia Gulosa.

The worm usually does not infect humans but infects cattle.

While medical practitioners failed to find out how she got the infection in first place, the 68-year-old runner recalled one of her trail runs.

She told the doctors that she once ran into a group of flies during her run in Carmel Valley in February 2018. She recalled “swatting the flies from her face and spitting them out of her mouth,” the report added. It could be the moment when she got introduced to the injection, the report further added.

Turns out, after returning to Nebraska, she pulled out a fourth critter as well. In her case, she continued with irritation of her eyes for two weeks, following which the eye irritation disappeared.

Speaking about the same, the study authors said that having a second case in the US within two years could be an indication that the T. gulosa infections are becoming more common in domestic cows and thus resulting in a spillover in humans.

They also noted that the worm that was examined had eggs developing, indicating that humans were suitable hosts for it as well.

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