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Woman's Moving Lump On Her Face Turns Out To Be A Parasitic Worm

Jun 22, 2018 09:02 PM EDT
An anonymous woman discovers a moving lump under her skin is actually a worm that's migrating across her face.
(Photo : Pexels)

A moving lump in the face is quite unusual, and one of the worst things it could be is a parasitic worm making itself comfortable.

One woman in Russia had to deal with this creepy, crawly nightmare.

A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine detailed this woman's ordeal from noticing the suspicious-looking lump migrating throughout her face to discovering that it was actually a parasitic worm known as Dirofilaria repens.

One Bizarrely Migrating Lump

The anonymous patient, 32, first noticed a lump under her left eye. This lump then migrated to the top of the same eye five days later. Ten days after this, it had moved to her upper lip. All of the strange nodules' positions were documented with photographs.

While the lumps were disturbing, she exhibited no symptoms other than the occasional localized itchiness and burning sensation where the lump is located.

Doctors discovered that the nodule was actually a parasitic worm known as Dirofilaria repens, which humans and dogs usually get from mosquitoes. The unnamed woman recalls frequent mosquito bites during a recent trip outside Moscow.

Fortunately, the woman fully recovered following the worm's surgical removal.

About Dirofilaria Repens

D. repens is one of the parasitic roundworms that can cause dirofilariasis in humans and dogs, who usually become infected through mosquito bites, according to CDC. It can cause pulmonary dirofilariasis, which usually has no symptoms but can also present several: coughing and coughing blood, fever, chest pain, and pleural effusion.

Fortunately for people in the United States, the D. repens is actually not found in the country. Instead, a different species — Dirofilaria immitis — is the most common cause of dirofilariasis in humans in the United States.

However, D. repens is very common in European countries.

Surgical removal is the best treatment for the infection, but it's often not even necessary unless the parasite is located where it can cause permanent damage such as the eye. Science Direct reports that the majority of worms die without treatment.

Increasing Number Of D. Repens Infection Cases

While IFLScience points out that it's more rare for D. repens to infect humans than animals, the number of human cases have been steadily increasing through the years. In the years between 1997 and 2012, the recorded cases jumped from just eight to more than 200 cases annually.

It's also significant that people are getting the infection at increasingly higher latitudes.

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