Couple stranded in Bolivia with flesh-eating parasite infection

Couple stranded in Bolivia with flesh-eating parasite infection


Now this is what we call a real holiday from hell... An Australian couple are stranded in Bolivia after becoming infected with flesh-eating parasite that crawl out of your skin.

Ally Vagg, 28, and her boyfriend, Bryan Williams, had just returned from a "dream" trip to the Amazon basin when they noticed what they thought were mosquito bites.

But when they both started feeling things move under their skin, and something occasionally poking its head out of the wounds, they found out they had human bot fly infection, according to news.com.au.

A fly deposits its eggs onto a carrier insect like a mosquito, and the larvae penetrate the human host's skin when the carrier lands.

The fly larvae then lives under the skin, feeding on human flesh. The maggots then eventually wiggle out of the body and become large hairy bot flies, that resemble bumble bees.

According to the Gold Coast Bulletin, Mr Williams and Ms Vagg, who have already pulled seven of the worm-like larvae from wounds on their stomach, back and legs, say they have battled language barriers, "useless" doctors and a Third World medical system in Bolivia in their quest for help.

They are now stranded in Bolivia until the infection clears, which could be another month.

Mr Williams, who lives on the Gold Coast, spent days with tape over his stomach wound, a method used to starve the larvae of air and draw them to the surface.

He said: "I lifted my shirt to see the head of it crawling at the top of my skin.

"That was it - I proceeded straight to the emergency to get it removed. The doctor spoke only Spanish, it was 11pm at night and he had never seen this thing that I claimed to have before.

"I saw the little invader rise up out of the hole for one second, look like he took a big breath and maybe even wink at me, and then dive bomb back down the hole not to be seen again.

"The doctor saw nothing. He didn't believe me and the bloody thing was still inside of me."

During another attempt to remove the parasites his friend pulled out three of the inch-long larvae.
Mr Williams said: "We all nearly puked. Repeatedly."

Contracting human bot fly infection is rare and reported cases are from tropical areas like Africa and South America.

Dr Ron Behrens of the London Hospital of Tropical Diseases told the Daily Mail: "It can occur in anyone. A mosquito drops the bot fly's eggs onto the skin. The bot fly doesn't come into contact with the person, the mosquito does it, as a third party.

"The pupae then burrow under the skin - often the scalp, legs or groin area - and feed off it, but stay close to the surface so they can breathe.

"They would have been growing bigger under this man's skin, which makes it very painful. After a couple of weeks they develop into flies, and are moving around - which is very unpleasant. But luckily it can be successfully treated."

Squirmish? Look away now...



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