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Couple visiting Bolivia became infected with flesh eating botflies

Posted by on Jan. 12, 2013 at 1:23 AM
  • 16 Replies

Couple Visiting Bolivia Became Infected With Flesh-Eating Botflies

PHOTO: A female adult human bot fly is seen in this undated photo.

An Australian couple got more than they bargained for from their Bolivian vacation when they became infected with human botfly larvaethat grow under the skin and feast on flesh, according to a report on the website Goldcoast.com.au.

Bryan Williams and girlfriend Ally Vagg, both 28 and from Sydney, at first thought the sores they saw littering their bodies were infected mosquito bites -- until they noticed the wounds were moving.

They sought care in Bolivia and learned they had human botfly larvae growing inside them.

Like something out of a frighteningly icky sci-fi movie, the human botfly is a parasite native to Central and South America whose eggs are transported to prospective hosts by dozens of species of mosquitoes, flies and ticks.

Female botflies capture the mosquito, fly or tick, attach up to 50 eggs to it, and then release the insect to find a host to deposit the eggs. The eggs then sense the body heat of the host, hatch and attempt to crawl into the feeding site of the mosquito.

PHOTO: A female adult human bot fly is seen in this undated photo.
J. Eibl, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Here's a female adult human botfly in this... View Full Size
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After an incubation period of six to eight weeks during which the botfly feeds under the host's skin, the botfly leaves abruptly without so much as a thank you and matures into an adult.

While touring the Amazon Basin, Williams and Vagg said they'd been bitten numerous times by mosquitoes, the likely source of the botfly invasion of their bodies.

Though botfly infections are rare, travelers to Central and South America should take the necessary steps -- which include wearing long sleeves and applying ample bug repellant -- to avoid excessive mosquito bites,

"They're high on the ick factor," Grayson Brown, director of the Public Health Entomology Laboratory at the University of Kentucky told ABC News. "Botflies are not an epidemic. But there are always a couple dozen cases when travelers return to the United States every year."

Extracting the larvae from the body can be somewhat painful and requires tremendous care to ensure that they're removed in one piece. A quick search on YouTube reveals numerous videos of people attempting to remove these unwelcome companions.

"In areas native to the botfly, the percentage is relatively low of people who come into contact with them, maybe one in 500," said Brown.

As for the Australian couple, they will remain in Bolivia until the infection clears, which could take up to a month.

by on Jan. 12, 2013 at 1:23 AM
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Replies (1-10):
morrigan914
by Bronze Member on Jan. 12, 2013 at 1:32 AM
*shudders*

Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Jan. 12, 2013 at 1:36 AM

now I am itchy

Paperfishies
by Silver Member on Jan. 12, 2013 at 1:45 AM
I watched the video. Fucking eww.
I would never feel clean again.
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unspecified42
by Bronze Member on Jan. 12, 2013 at 1:46 AM
We arch botfly videos in the ER when it's slow. Lol. We love gross things. Not sure why this is news, though. It isn't that uncommon.
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taniamorse85
by Bronze Member on Jan. 12, 2013 at 1:47 AM

That made my skin crawl.  Yuck!

muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on Jan. 12, 2013 at 1:51 AM


Quoting Sekirei:

now I am itchy

I know.  I need a shower now. lol

..MoonShine..
by Redwood Witch on Jan. 12, 2013 at 3:37 AM
1 mom liked this

I'm sorry. I cannot read your post. I saw botflies in the title and immediately knew I would have nightmares if I read it. *shudders*

rfurlongg
by on Jan. 12, 2013 at 7:58 AM
Eww
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Whaaaaaa....O.o
by on Jan. 12, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Ew!! Ewewewewewewewewee!!!! Blah!!! I need to shower now!!!
RubyMom0526
by Member on Jan. 12, 2013 at 8:21 AM

How do you not check your body at the end of the day.  Especially when you are in a different county.  Just like ticks

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