A woman noticed a small, itchy lump growing on her face but she would soon grow puzzled when the lump appears to move around her face. The lump would be gone from one spot but it would soon appear in another place.
She took selfies to document the puzzling ‘moving lump’ but was soon horrified to learn that it was made by a worm! Yuck!
The unnamed patient noticed that the lump first appeared after she was bitten by a mosquito at a rural area just outside Moscow, Russia.
Dr. Vladimir Kartashev of Rostov State Medical University in Russia revealed, “She had first noted a nodule below her left eye. Five days later, it had moved to above her left eye, and 10 days after that to the upper lip.”
“She documented these changes by taking photographs of her face (i.e., ‘selfies’).”
“The nodules occasionally caused a localized itching and burning sensation, but otherwise she had no symptoms.”
Because she had no other symptoms and the lumps weren’t really painful, the woman just let the matter pass. But weeks later, she decided to see a doctor and was rather shocked to learn that a worm had been crawling around her face for weeks.
After confirming that the lumps were caused by the worm, the doctor made a small incision on the woman’s face and extracted the offending parasite. Parasitologist Fernando Simon of the University of Salamanca in Spain identified the worm as Dirofilaria repens.
According to Simon, this parasite is commonly seen in cats and dogs but could sometimes pass on to humans due to mosquito bites. While it is identified as a ‘cousin’ of the heartworm and could grow up to 6 inches long, the nematode is generally harmless unless it affects vital organs in its journey inside the patient’s body.
Thankfully, once the parasite was extracted by the doctor, the woman made a complete recovery. Let’s just hope the worm wasn’t able to lay eggs inside her face! But at least she knows what to do now if moving lumps begin to appear on her face again. Yikes!
Photo credit: NBC News