Unusual lump on woman's face turns out to be a live worm

Posted June 26, 2018

The 32-year-old first noticed unusual nodules below her left eye that later moved above her eye and then down to her upper lip. In humans, D. repens are caught crawling under the skin by victims noticing shifting subcutaneous nodules, as did the woman in the case report.

A series of photos showing the worm migrating around the woman's face, and after it was removed.

Dr. Vladimir Kartashev, a professor of medicine at Rostov State Medical University who treated the 32-year-old woman, published a separate study on dirofilariasis, the name given to the infection, in 2015. It was a parasite, living inside of her face. According to the report, she also experienced itchiness accompanied sometimes by a burning sensation in the part of her face the lump moved to. After five days, the lump had moved on the top of her left eyelid, below her eyebrow.

It traveled underneath her skin.

A further 10 days later, it had moved again, this time puffing up the left side of her upper lip. One even caused meningoencephalitis, or swelling in the brain. Still, she visited an ophthalmologist to get the spot checked out.

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

The worm was removed surgically and soon after the incision the woman completely recovered.

Because the worms typically remain infertile in humans, the cure is usually to remove the parasite through a small incision.

A related worm species is known as "heartworm" in dogs.

According to the case study, the woman had recently traveled to a rural area outside of Moscow and had been frequently bitten by mosquitoes. Humans are "accidental" hosts - in other words, not where the worms want to end up - and once a worm gets into a human, it typically can't reproduce. But humans may also become infected with it under certain circumstances. But other than that it doesn't do much harm, according to the CDC.

Doctors pulled the worm out and identified it as Dirofilaria repens, a type of nematode that usually affects animals such as dogs and cats.

His research showed that between June 1997 and June 2013, almost 1,300 cases of dirofilariasis were found in Russian Federation and Belarus, usually among women who visited rural areas-which is how the unnamed woman in this case study is thought to have contracted the infection.

Humans are aberrant hosts for, which means that our bodies do not normally host the parasite and don't give it ideal conditions for it to mature.

Once under a human's skin, the worm, which is spread by mosquito bites, can not breed. She didn't pay attention to it, at first, but she started posting pictures of the bump of her social media channel just in case.

For now, Americans don't have to worry about this particular worm burrowing around under their skin.

Doctors determined that the wandering wart was actually a marauding parasite, likely transmitted by a mosquito bite on her trip.