Myiasis is a parasitic infestation caused by the larvae of flies that feed on living tissue, including the skin. The condition is relatively rare, but it can be a cause of significant discomfort and even lead to serious complications. In this blog post, we will explore the different types of myiasis, its causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Types of Myiasis
There are several types of myiasis, depending on the type of fly that causes the infestation. The most common types of myiasis include cutaneous myiasis, which affects the skin, and furuncular myiasis, which affects the subcutaneous tissues.
Cutaneous myiasis is most often caused by the larvae of the human botfly (Dermatobia hominis; commonly found in Central and South America) and the tumbu fly (cordylobia anthropophaga; commonly found in Africa). The larvae are transmitted to humans in different ways for different species of fly. The human botfly is transmitted to humans by a mosquito bite. The tumbu fly lays its eggs on wet clothing and sand and when human skin touches the infested clothing or sand, the larva penetrate the skin.
Doctors have different names for the forms of myiasis depending on where it infects the person and how it clinically present. There is a form called “wound myiasis” if the flies infect a wound. There are also forms called furuncular myiasis, plaque myiasis, body cavity myiasis, and creeping dermal mysiasis. None of these are any fun.
When the larvae feed on the host’s living tissue they can causing damage and inflammation. Myiasis can occur in individuals who live in or travel to areas where the flies are prevalent or have poor hygiene practices.
The symptoms of myiasis vary depending on the type of infestation. In cutaneous myiasis, the affected area may appear as a red, raised bump or boil, and the individual may experience pain, itching, or a tingling sensation. In furuncular myiasis, the infested area may appear as a tender, raised lump that can eventually develop into an ulcer.
Treatment of myiasis involves the removal of the larvae, wound care, and antibiotics to prevent secondary infection. Your dermatologist may use various methods to remove the larvae, including applying petroleum jelly, using forceps, or using suction to extract the larvae. Wound care may include cleaning the affected area, applying topical medications, and covering the wound with a sterile dressing.
Preventing myiasis involves taking measures to avoid exposure to the flies that cause the infestation. These measures include wearing protective clothing, using insect repellent, and avoiding areas where flies are known to be present. It is also essential to maintain good hygiene practices and keep wounds and sores clean and covered.
Myiasis is a parasitic infestation caused by the larvae of flies that feed on living tissue. The condition is relatively rare, but it can cause significant discomfort and even lead to serious complications. By taking preventive measures and seeking prompt medical attention, individuals can reduce their risk of myiasis and receive effective treatment if the infestation occurs.
More information – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Myiasis. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/myiasis/index.html