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Flesh-Eating Parasite May Cause Hundreds of Deaths in the US

Dec 01, 2016 08:22 AM EST
Flesh-Eating Parasite May Cause Hundreds of Deaths in the US
Deer find a taste for human carcass.

(Photo : Getty Images)

In October, people were alarmed to hear reports about a 67-year-old man dying from infections caused by a flesh-eating parasite which he got from Ocean City in Maryland. It is the first time that an incident such as this has been reported in the United States since it was completely exterminated decades ago. 

In the late 1960s, the presence of screwworms has been completely exterminated through what is known as the sterile insect technique where male flies cannot result in an offspring when mated with female flies as they have been sterilized by radiation.

More than 50 years later, locals of Florida have reported incidents of seeing a dear suffering from a certain parasitic infection, only to discover that it is a re-emergence of the screwworm. Now they are worried as there have been reports of a hundred deer deaths since July this year.

An outbreak that could harm even people, screwworm larvae usually thrive in open wounds and feed on living flesh, a report from Science Alert indicated. Though the case of death reported in Maryland has been the first human death from a screwworm infection, people are still warned to stay alert for any possible symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed a few symptoms to look out for, especially after an injury. One may have a red swelling bump which increases in size significantly and may experience severe pain with fever, chills, and fatigue.

Worse cases also include vomiting and nausea. The spread of the infection could be fast and fatal if not attended to. It has been advised that anyone feeling these symptoms after gaining an open wound should seek medical assistance immediately. The best way to prevent any possible infections is to make sure of good would care and sterilization. 

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