July 16, 2013

Maggots in the Ear After Trip to Peru

Image from Wikipedia
Adventurous international travelers have to worry about malaria and safe drinking water, but for one 27 years old British woman, she also had to contend with a maggot infestation in the ear after a trip to Peru.

It was not quite the 57 maggots found in one Illinois woman, but apparently this traveler recalled walking thru a fly swarm in Peru and that one fly did briefly enter her ear canal. However, it was enough for the fly (New World Screwworm fly) to lay its eggs causing maggots to hatch and slowly eat away her ear canal causing severe pain and scratching sounds within her head.

Surgery was required to remove the maggots. Less aggressive attempts to remove would only cause the maggots to burrow even deeper into her ear/head. Potential damage from the maggots include permanent hearing loss for obvious reasons, but also facial paralysis and taste changes given the facial nerve and chorda tympani (taste nerve) pass through the ear as well.

Fortunately, all maggots were successfully removed without any permanent damage.


Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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