Woman Finds Cattle Worms in Eye
A woman from Oregon made history as the first human host for an eye worm that previously had been reported only in cattle.
Abby Beckley, 28, of Grants Pass, Ore., first had redness, swelling and pain in her eye. When she pulled a small, white worm out of her eye—still moving—she was understandably upset.
Beckley was working on a boat in Alaska at the time. As she told CNN, "I was just in shock. I ran into my crewmate Allison's room, and I said, 'I need you to see this! I just pulled a worm out of my eye!'"
Doctors at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland examined Beckley when she returned from Alaska. They sent several of the worms to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for identification. When experts realized they were Thelazia gulosa, a kind of worm only seen before in cattle, everyone was surprised. Researchers from the CDC have recently published a paper about the case.
Beckley has fully recovered from the experience. In the end, she removed 14 worms from her eye. No other treatment was needed or recommended. It was better to remove the worms while they were still living than to kill them with medication, according to her doctors in Oregon.
Doctors think she was infected while in Oregon, where there are many cattle. The worms are transmitted by flies that feed near the eyes of cattle and other animals.
What Do You Need to Know About Eye Worms?
- This kind of eye worm is unlikely to infect humans.
- Other, similar kinds of eye worms have been reported in rare cases in the United States.
- Different species of eye worms have also been reported in Asia and Europe. But all eye worms of this kind are rare in humans.
- Good hygiene is essential to good eye health.